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John 17:13-14; 17
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they [followers] may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world….For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”[Jesus praying]

Three promises are embedded in these passages: joy, suffering, and holiness. These are part of becoming a follower of Christ.

I believe Jesus had joy because he completed his task on Earth. He accomplished what his Father had sent him to do. He was faithful. And out of his accomplishment and faithfulness comes joy. His joy is available to us because HE did the brunt of the work. As Julian of Norwich says, “All will be well…” Despite our circumstances, joy is available. “It is finished!” But we continue to struggle… we continue to make our own joy.

I believe Jesus understood his own suffering and anticipated his followers to experience suffering as well. Jesus was outside the norm of the day. He challenged the religious leaders of the time. He promoted actions and thoughts of paradox: love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, etc. But these teachings are no better understood or walked out today. Most Christians are uncomfortable with the idea of suffering for an ideal like the lion and the lamb dwelling together. Jesus world and our world are not that different, both worlds are equally violent. Perhaps the biggest difference is that we, in the West, have more to lose. Which bring us to the challenge of holiness.

I believe Jesus offered his followers a holy life by walking outside the the ways of the world. In order to know this life, we would have to willingly step away from our consumer lifestyle. Sanctification (holiness) comes from casting ourselves fully at the feet of Christ. It’s submission to the way of Jesus. It’s humility for the sake of the other. It’s letting go. It’s living sacrificially.

Oh, most patient Lord, forgive me for looking for my own joy, for running from suffering, and fearing holiness. Show me the narrow way.

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