TO FOLLOW JESUS, WE MUST FIRST DENY/DISAVOW OURSELVES, FROM OURSELVES AND BECOME OBEDIENT DISCIPLES ASSIMILATING CHRIST’S VALUES TO GOVERN OUR LIVES AND EMBRACE THE WILL OF GOD.
Taking up the cross requires full submission to the will of God. Full submission requires denying or disavowing our natural man for our spiritual man. Jesus is commanding us to reject our natural feelings about ourselves. Mark 8:24 is not about possessions as we so often think. Possessions are a byproduct of our natural selves. Our possessions govern who we think we are in the natural. Jesus wants us to deny, disavow, that we are our own, that we own ourselves. Ray Stedman, Authentic Christianity, writes:
“Jesus is saying something very fundamental. It strikes right at the heart of our very existence, because the one thing that we, as human beings, value and covet and protect above anything else is the right to make ultimate decisions for ourselves. We refuse to be under anything or anyone but reserve the right to make the final decisions of our lives; this is what Jesus is telling us. He is not talking about giving up this or that, but about giving up ourselves.”
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 explains the transference very clearly, if we are going to follow Jesus, we no longer own ourself. He has ultimate rights; He has Lordship of our life. So, we no longer belong to ourself; Jesus will make final decisions when the issues of our lives hang in the balance. This is what Jesus means by “if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself,” we must deny our self-trust, deny our self-sufficiency, deny our feeling so we can handle life by ourselves and run everything to suit ourselves.
Jesus is saying that discipleship requires disavowing ourselves from ourselves and putting him in charge of our lives. It is our pride that keeps us from being dependent upon God. God is calling for us to disavow our human traits and pick up his traits Paul described Galatians 5:16-26 NIV, Freedom in Christ.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
There is only one way to becoming a disciple of Christ, and that is to obey his commands and be completely dependent upon Him for direction. We have to choose to do what Jesus says and not what we think independent of Him. If he instructs us to turn right when we planned to turn left, do so, we never know what lesson lies ahead or what harm you are avoiding. Only Jesus knows the plans for our lives. We are not our own.
“Following Jesus is not a decision for the moment, but a program for a lifetime, to be repeated again and again, whenever we fall into circumstances which make these choices necessary.”
References -BibleHub.com; Biblestudytools.com; Blueletterbible.org.
Note: Much of the context is either quoted or paraphrased from Ray Stedman, The Way of the Cross. Raystedman.org.
Images: Google Images; Discipleship image – Heritage Christian School
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If you look for the Father through Jesus Christ you will find Him. Seeking God is His commandment to let us know He is all around us. He hears our prayers and is waiting for us and challenging us to interact with Him in conversation. He is calling us to enter into a relationship with Him. His grace and mercy are in abundance for the giving.
I view knocking at the door as a metaphor requesting entrance into His home. Knocking also takes the form of praying. We seek Him through our Heart. The Holy Spirit invites us into His dwelling.
Under the Holy Spirits guidance and influence, we are taken out of captivity and are no longer wanderers. In our wandering, the evil one led us astray and away from our Father. The greatness of our Lord invites us home just as we are. All He asks is that we establish genuine intimacy with Him through integrity, honesty, sincerity, and faith.
The idea of seeking God is expressed throughout the Bible. Adam and Eve may be the only people who did not have to seek Him. He was present in the Garden of Eden. God loves us, so He does not leave us alone seeking Him. In Jeremiah 24:7 He said, “ I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole hearts”, much like the Prodigal Son returned home after his wanderings.
Throughout the Bible we are urged to seek Him, to let Him know we are searching for Him and want an ongoing relationship with Him. We have been invited to seek God through Jesus who left the Holy Spirit to live in us during His absence. As believers, we are vessels of the Holy Spirit, and our access is through our heart and love for God.
The scriptures below are taken from the NASB Bible.
“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back from exile.’”
“The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
“When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.””
“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.”
“Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!”
“At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
Seek, knock, and you will find our Lord.
Related Post: Ask. Seek. Find. Receive. https://wp.me/p98Coa-rd.
September 19, 2018
This is my day of sharing. The post is from rpcablog.wordpress.com. Thanks OP.
In the theme of Random Acts of Kindness, I am reposting Stephen C. Weber’s post.
Message summary: Thank God for the blessing of a kind word!
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (Proverbs 12:25). “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Proverbs 16:24).
Last Friday we visited with an employee who shared with us about her ongoing heartache concerning a young man’s suicide. He had been her grown son’s closest friend since kindergarten and took his own life in July. She keeps his memory alive by distributing small printed business size cards, with his photo, reminding people of the vital importance of…
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I’m Reposting Vickie’s Post because sometimes we need a reminder that God knows all.
I have been going through a lot lately, which you already know if you read my previous post. But, through it all, God continues to speak to me daily that nothing is happening in my life that He does not already know about.
I desire to be Godly and not to whine and moan and complain about my plight. So that is what I am working on these days. Yes, my holiday plans had to change, but then change is part of life, isn’t it? And no matter what path I am on in life, I want it to be the one that God approves of.
Lest anyone think that God is not watching you all of the time, I would like to put in my two cents here. God is omnipresent and omniscient. As I told my students in Sunday school class yesterday: Yes, it is possible to cheat…
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Love does no harm. The Holy Spirit resides in us. We are love. Therefore, we should do no harm.
Light breaks through the darkness. Love breaks through hate. A soft voice is louder than a high volume pitch. An act of kindness changes the atmosphere.
The term ’Neighbor’ is figurative describing all people in your sphere. All people are your neighbors.
Our command is to love all people. There are no exceptions. Jesus did not categorize people to exclude them.
We can make a difference. It is time we overcome the hate that is blanketing the planet. We can change the world through the daily demonstration of the Holy Spirit who indwells us.
Do no harm…