9:23-25 “And He said to all, ‘If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?’”
Luke 9:23-25 (ESV)
“For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” Luke 9:48
The Philadelphia 76ers have built their march back to NBA relevance on the back of this phrase, “Trust the Process.” In ways it’s working. Their greatness is re-emerging.
Perhaps it’s because they have emphasized journey over destination and accented process over outcome. I’m sure there is more to it. But this is at least some of the high ground they’ve targeted.
Jesus talked about the foundation of process and journey long ago. And His movement-building principles are epic. They changed the world, not just a team.
Luke 9 is loaded with great process-pointers. Let’s see what He has to say by asking two questions.
What is “the process” (to greatness)?
PROCESS IS A PERSON. To find greatness, follow the One who never lost. Establish your trek here and follow Him well. That means carefully knowing how He lived, examining every word, and imitating Him.
It means denying yourself, not promoting yourself. That means taking up your cross, doing the hard work of loyal, selfless service. Bottom line: It means following Jesus well (Luke 9:18-26).
How do I “trust the process”?
SHOW UP FAITHFULLY. Jesus says that great things happen when we commit, day by day, to simply show up. The process is built on faithfulness. Take up your cross daily. Be known as a faithful one (Luke 9:6,23,62).
ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS. Sometimes you need less than you think for the journey. Good process simplifies. In a world that says more is better, Jesus says less is more.
To have Him is to have enough. And remember this, not everything that gets your attention deserves your attention (Luke 9:3-5,59-60).
TAKE TIMEOUTS. They are a crucial part of the process. “Grinding” alone cannot define the process. Create time and space for rest, reflection, renewal and intentional prayer.
Jesus and His team did. So must we (Luke 9:10,16,18,28).
SET MY FACE. The process faces things. Jesus was resolute in facing Jerusalem. He had to face an awaiting cross.
He counted the cost by taking a hard, unflinching look at the mission. And He didn’t look away. Moments like this produce winning toughness. Where your vision goes, there you go (Luke 9:51,57,58).
DIE TO LIVE. “Take up your cross” is how Jesus phrased it. It means finding things in you that need to die so you can truly live. It means eliminating whatever around you that needs to go.
It means losing to gain. The process demands death (Luke 9:23,24).
BE HUMBLE. Denying oneself is the gateway to humility and the path that sustains trust in the process. The least is the greatest.
A return to childlikeness gives us the best clue to greatness. These are the first clues Jesus used to spell out His greatness recipe (Luke 9:23,46-48).
LIVE CAREFREE. Trusting the process means letting go as much as gripping something tight. It means releasing anxieties to the One who handles them best (1 Peter 5:7). It means traveling light (Luke 9:3-5,57-62).
FOLLOW HIM. The best evidence of trusting is following. You trust the process by following Jesus well.
“You can’t lead well unless you know where you’re going, and you can’t know where you are going unless you are following Someone or something well” (Denzel Washington). Following is the first and last word on greatness (Luke 9:23).
To chase greatness, a process must be trusted. That process starts with a Person. Praise God that He shows us how to trust this process too.
Reflect: Who do you follow when it comes to greatness and how well do you do this?
Which area above could use help? What needs to die or live a little more in you?
A prayer to consider: Father, thank You for addressing my greatness yearnings so well. Keep me in good process by Your Spirit and Your Word. Help me to die to live, to lose to gain, to set my face and follow well … just like Jesus, your Son and my Savior-King. Amen.