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Articles

Never Disappoint Who?

It was once said, “Disappoint ­anyone. Disappoint everyone. But never disappoint yourself.”

Never disappoint yourself? Perhaps that line sums up one of the most glaring problems our society has with being true disciples of Christ—self is placed on the pedestal of highest priority.

One of Jesus’ best recognized teachings goes against the self-centered approach to life. He said, “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38–39). While people today seek to never disappoint themselves, Christ said you had to lose your life to save it. This mind set certainly is one of the “hard sayings” of the Bible (John 6:60). It is clear many today still cannot accept the idea of self-sacrifice.

The context of Jesus’ statement explains in even deeper detail how much we must be willing to disappoint to be a disciple:

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. —Matthew 10:34-39

Jesus didn’t provide peace but a sword? How? Because in order to serve Christ we might have to choose Jesus over our family—even to the point of making the members of your house your enemy (v. 36). Jesus goes as far as saying if you love anyone more than Him, you aren’t worthy. That doesn’t sound like the attitude of a person who refuses to disappoint himself.

And then Jesus instructs His audience to turn the sword on themselves. True disciples take up a cross—another instrument of death—in order to serve Jesus. Paul said it this way, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” ( Galatians 2:20).

Jesus expected his disciples to put to death their own desires, wants, and wishes in order to follow him in full submission. Self is no longer the focus. It is no longer what one’s life revolves around.

Why would one give up his family? Why would he deny himself? Because that is what Jesus requires to have a relationship with Him. That’s how one can find true life.

Understand this . . . it’s worth it. It’s worth every painful sacrifice to be with Jesus.  

Perhaps that quote should be ­re-written: “Disappoint anyone. ­Disappoint everyone. Disappoint yourself. But never disappoint Christ.”