Denying Self

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  Luke 9:23 (NIV)

Jesus is talking with His confided few.  They are discussing the importance of the Son of Man.  Jesus shares a little of God´s plan of redemption and His part in it.  He asks who people say He is.  He asks the Disciples who He is to them.  They confess He is Christ, the promised Savior.  Now that they have made that discovery in conscious awareness, does He take the issue a little further?  Does He leave us any room for excuses?  Does He remove from us the possibility to hold this concept far from our hearts?  Does He let us keep it as a mental calculation alone?  Is Who Jesus is, something we can simply state?  Or will we need to digest the thought further before we can say that we believe?  Does it need to get deeper than thinking we are convinced?  Are we asked to be moved to the core?  Will the process involve letting go of our imagined control of our circumstances?  Will we have to lay down our protagonist role?  Would we have to hand over to Him the keys we think we hold?  Are we going to have to learn that it is Him who is in control?  Will we have to realize that it has always been Him?  Will we need to know for sure that this is the Way it should be for us?

Are there many people who throw around their beliefs at will?  Are there some who will loudly testify to believing in Jesus but want to do it when they think it benefits them the most?  Do these kinds of Christians live as any other human being for the majority of the time?  Do they chase their hopes and dreams of a pleasant life here on earth?  Do they turn to Jesus only when their fun has been spoilt or they are finding opposition standing in their way?  Is this what Jesus calls for when He says to take up our cross daily and follow Him?  Or could Jesus be asking for a little more commitment from those who would call themselves by His name?

As we contemplate where Jesus is going with His words, do those words expose something of ourselves?  As we hear Him inquiring of how sure we are of looking to Him for our answers, do we stop to make the question come home to us?  As Jesus looks at the intensity and sincerity of our faith in Him, must we take a good look at ourselves?  What will it cost us to follow Him?  What will we have to give up, to truly step in and follow His words?  Will we have to stop living for ourselves?  If we want to get closer to Him than the pleasure seeking people around us, will we have to make Him first in our lives?  Would the Son of God need to be placed higher on our list of priorities than even our own interests?  Are we willing to give Him that much?

Dear Jesus, You are the Teacher.  Help us to learn.  What would You have us know today?  How serious are we in our considerations of You?  How big are we making You in our lives?  Are we making You as important as You should be?  Please show us where to place each step.  Show us where to place our faith.  Show us how much faith we are actually placing upon You.  Then help us to step out in the kind of faith that is worthy of You.

Amen

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