Have you ever had a good idea? Its like “somebody oughta…” The ideas we get can then take shape, form, and with initiative, become reality.

Then there’s the bad ideas.

My older brother Jeff could always talk me into doing bad ideas. Here’s one: we were both mad scientists. We’d mix stuff together to see what would happen. One day, my brother mixed some stuff in the sink, and then said, “hey Darius, come smell this.” I did. I lost my breath. I thought I was dying.

My brother had mixed chlorine with ammonia. Bad idea.

There have, no doubt, been many bad ideas in history. What makes an idea bad is whether or not it benefits the good of others.

So, imagine Jesus saying, “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24. He even ups the ante by saying that anyone who doesn’t hate his own life, and the life of this natural family isn’t worthy of being His disciple.

No Novel Peace Prize for you, Jesus.

What Jesus should have said was, believe in yourself, live your best life now, and follow your dreams. This is a much better idea, because it benefits the good of others. I mean, who wants to hang around someone who is self actualized and has an impressive portfolio, both personal and professional?

Why would Jesus say such terrible words? Didn’t He come to make the world a better place? In a word, no.

Jesus came to tear down the structures of man attempting to make things better. This kind of thinking; self actualization, is the tower of babel at best and the advancing of the kingdom of darkness at worst.

Jesus didn’t beg his followers to hang around when the heat was on. As a matter of fact, when the many turned away, He asked the twelve, “are you going to leave as well?” If Jesus would have begged the twelve to stay, it would have cut the legs away from “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.”

Jesus was telling them then that He was heading toward an undeserved death on an undeserved torturous death…and was inviting the twelve to come along. Bonhoffer said that Jesus bid us “come and die.”

This “bad idea” led those who remained with Jesus to high adventure. They discovered the joy of suffering, the blessing of ministry, and the comfort of deep fellowship. The bad of idea of self denial has become the bliss of millions.

Hebrews 11 says that they all died in faith, and looked for a city to come.

That’s not so bad afterall.