For years, I had this thought that those who watched, listened and walked with Jesus had such an advantage. They got to be a part of what Jesus was doing and they most surely got it! They must have walked away from their teacher as enlightened souls who quite easily could Embody Christ. And then I studied the disciples. My conclusion…what a mess! Just like them, we are a work in progress and allowing our true self to come out and be stripped of the falsities that distract us is a lifetime endeavor. Along the way, grace accompanies us and God’s unfailing love holds us!

For example, after Jesus predicts his impending death, as he is walking to Jerusalem, a dispute erupts among the disciples. In Mark 10:35-45, the brothers James and John want to know if they can sit at the prized seats around Jesus (think power and prestige!). The other ten hear this and are quite frustrated and angered by the request. Why? Not because they realize that this is a silly question based on Jesus’ revealed way of living, but because they want those same seats. So Jesus takes an opportunity to show them a new way…whoever wants to be great must be a servant of others. Ouch! To be great in God’s world is to work from a place of serving, not being served! Power and prestige often puts blinders on us, in which we are either immune from the needs of others or believe that is beneath us. Yet the way of Christ is to be as thoughtful of oneself, as a servant for, and to, others.

This is an affront to our ego that is always pushing us to see ourselves as better than, right in our actions, good, and special. It is when we, like the disciples, begin to see that our ego can too often crowd out the way of Christ that we begin to take a deep dive into spiritual maturity. At these times, the impetus is usually a crisis, suffering, or being at the end of our rope. It is in these painful, yet holy, moments that we open ourselves to the invitation to let go of our ego (need to be in control) and allow the holy to lead us.