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This life is filled with challenges, which sometimes push us to our very limits—physically, emotionally and spiritually. But thankfully we are not limited by our own strength. As Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Christ lives in the hearts and minds of believers to help us succeed (see Galatians 2:20).
I caught myself asking a dangerous question recently. It could easily have become a refrain in my head, like that annoying song that won't go away, but I finally saw what was happening.
The dangerous question was: Why should I?
Why should I keep trying to repair a broken relationship?
Why should I call her when she never calls me?
Why should I help him out when he never helps me?
Why should I keep my sick children at home when so many others don’t?
Why should I go to so much effort when others neglect to do anything for me?
In our human world we like things to be equal and fair. We like to get what we paid for, whether we paid with money, time, effort or emotion. We want to feel like the effort to do right is worth it – like we're getting some kind of return.
When I caught myself asking that question of why should I a few weeks ago, I thought about Jesus Christ. What if He had thought that way? Imagine the questions Jesus could have asked Himself.
Why should I work with this man who's going to deny he even knows me?
Why should I invest three years of my life into someone who will betray me?
Why should I heal people? What are they doing for me in return?
Why should I bother to teach people about God when they try to stone me?
Why should I feed people who are happy to receive the food but are not willing to be my disciples?
Jesus Christ didn't just die for our sins, He lived in a world full of sinners, loving and serving them every minute that He had. I'm so thankful He didn't first weigh up what we could do for Him (nothing) before laying down His life (which was worth more than all humanity--John 1:1-3).
The answer to the question why should I is simple. Because Jesus would.
The Bible tells us to become like Him. The apostle Paul said: "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (I Corinthians 11:1). And, in his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …" (Romans 12:2).
In a few days followers of Jesus Christ around the world will be remembering His death by observing the Passover as He did. As they do so, they will be reflecting on the words He spoke in prayer to God shortly before His brutal crucifixion. They were not why should I, but: "...Nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." (Luke 22:42).
May that be our prayer also.
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