Day 7 of 21: January 17, 2024
Matthew 16:24 Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Me.
The first step in becoming a true disciple of Jesus is realizing that the Kingdom of God is at war with the kingdom of “me.” If we want Jesus – to walk where He is calling us, to do what He wants us to – we must get ourselves out of the way. My flesh, appetites, and propensity for selfishness will always shut down what the Holy Spirit tries to accomplish in and through my life. We must ask ourselves, “Are we following Jesus, or are we using Jesus to follow ourselves?”
Self-denial is foundational and essential in following Jesus. Taking up our cross does not mean enduring an annoying coworker or a job stressing us out. It means dying to our selfishness, crucifying our flesh, and allowing our dreams and ambitions to die so that His dream can become a reality in and through our lives. This is a large part of what it means for His Kingdom to come and will be done on earth. It’s about getting our flesh out of the way and cooperating with the Holy Spirit.
To follow Christ, you must learn to die to your perception of your “rights” and ownership of your life. As long as you are the captain of your life, Jesus will not be.
This means waking up earlier to get into the word and prayer. It means giving up what you want so that He can give you what you need and give Him what He desires. As I read His word, I get His heart and mind for the world. As I engage in prayer and intercession, He starts moving. As I listen to His Spirit, He gives me guidance and instructions. As I am about My Father’s business, His Kingdom comes. There is revelation, repentance, restoration, and redemption.
Jesus, I love You. Thank You, Your cross that purchased my life and ransomed me from the grave. Help me to die to myself so I can live for You. I want to follow where You lead. I can’t serve two masters. I don’t want to follow myself. Grant me the humility and grace to know You and follow You. I give my life to you. Help me get to where I say yes to Your leading without reservation, whatever the price. In Your name, Amen.
– Pastors & the church
– Wisdom and discernment to know our roles and the grace to do it.
– The humility and strength to crucify our flesh (sin-nature)