The Ice Bucket Challenge is everywhere, isn’t it? You just can’t get away from it. But, what does Jesus have to do with the Ice Bucket Challenge? I’m so glad you asked…
The ice bucket challenge. It’s the craze that has swept the nation this past few days. It’s all over my Facebook feed. You can’t really get away from it.
People are challenged to dump ice water on themselves and donate a small amount of money to research for ALS or to skip it and donate $100. And the gauntlet was dropped by someone battling this disease.
I know some people are annoyed with it, but it really has hit the mark. Seriously, how many of us were talking about ALS before this started? Awareness has gone through the roof, and they say donations are up by 1000%. I’d say it’s working.
But it’s been very interesting to watch. People stand there staring at the ice water, and it looks CO-O-O-O-LD! It isn’t going to feel good on the flesh. It isn’t going to be comfortable.
I mean, really, I don’t even get in the pool until the water hits 90 degrees!
We Americans don’t like to be uncomfortable. We keep our homes set at the perfect temperature. We eat the minute we feel hunger pangs and our showers are amazingly warm. (I’ve taken showers in Africa…trust me, you can’t use the warm in the same sentence as shower!)
If it’s too hot outside, we complain. If it’s too cold outside, we complain. We have comfy furniture, comfy cars, comfy clothes.
We like to be comfortable. I think that’s why this challenge has been so fascinating to watch. We do something on purpose that we know is going to shock our system, and then we challenge someone else to do the same thing. Oh, and capture it on video please!
I’m so thankful that Jesus didn’t back away from the “Ice Bucket Challenge.”
And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to [j]show grief and distress of mind and was deeply depressed. (Matthew 26:37)
And being in an agony [of mind], He prayed [all the] more earnestly and intently, and His sweat became like great clots of blood dropping down upon the ground. (Luke 22:44)
Jesus stared at his ice bucket. He stared it down. He was in agony of mind over it. He prayed to the Father three times for another way. But there was no other way.
Why? Why was He in such agony?
Jesus was flesh and blood, and nobody wants the flesh to hurt. He knew what He was facing. The torture His body would go through. The agony. The unimaginable pain. But He looked right at it, stared it down, and took the challenge. And He won!
And because He did, my life is forever changed. Salvation came. Healing came. Provision came. Peace came. Life came. Power came.
And He threw down His own gauntlet.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)
And Paul said:
I discipline my body and make it my slave so that after all this, after I have brought the gospel to others, I will still be qualified to win the prize. (I Corinthians 9:27)
So, my kids and I were challenged to do the ice bucket. And even though I hesitated, I think we’re going to do it. I don’t like to jump on bandwagons. I don’t particularly like cold water. I could think of other things I need to do with that money.
We’re going to do it if for no other reason than to put the flesh under and do something on purpose that will make it uncomfortable.
Why? Because living for Him can be uncomfortable on the flesh. Can I get an AMEN? If it’s not, you’re not doing it right. And the more you put the flesh under, the easier it gets to do it the next time.
It’s not comfortable to walk in love with someone who’s treating you horribly. It’s not easy to forgive when someone does something horrific to you.
It’s not always comfy-cozy to give when you know you’re almost out of money yourself.
It’s not always comfortable to obey when you know He’s telling you to go lay hands on someone you don’t even know because He wants to heal them.
But just because it’s not comfortable, doesn’t mean it’s not right. It’s not God.
I’m so glad Jesus didn’t choose to stay comfortable when He was faced with the Ice Bucket Challenge. (I know, the cross and the ice bucket don’t even compare.) But because He did it and won, I can too.
Lord, help me to live uncomfortable for You!