Denial of Ourselves
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any
want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their
cross and follow me.
Jesus speaks these words to followers. Those who have decided to follow
Jesus must continue to become Jesus' followers by daily renouncing
themselves and daily taking up their cross. Both the renouncing and
the taking up come from the act of following Jesus.
When we are intent on following where Jesus leads, we find that we must
renounce the lordship of ourselves, our own ideas, plans, agendas. All
that truly matters is letting Jesus take us where Jesus knows we
need to go.
When we are intent on following Jesus, we find that we must take up
our cross, our suffering, our dying, our struggles. No more running from
the problems. No more not dealing. No more escapism. Following Jesus means
"life on life's terms." Our true healing is not in escaping our problems
but in taking them up and being overcomers through Jesus Christ. The world
would have us take the broad, easy road but there is no healing or life
there. Our healing comes to us in the act of following. (Not in the act
of talking about following!)
Following Christ we:
Questions For Reflection
Turn over our plans to him
Turn over our anxieties and fears to him
Turn over our moods to him Turn over our attitudes to him
No longer run from problems because we trust that he is able
We face our daily crosses
Take up our daily hurts
Take up our calling - including the struggle and suffering that comes
Why can our moods and attitudes dictate so much of our decisions
and behavior? How does renouncing ourselves bring deliverance from the
tyranny of mood swings?
How does renouncing ourselves release us from fear?
If following Jesus always involves renouncingand taking
up, how can this help us to face our problems?
How can this renouncingand taking up bring healing to our
Share some experience of healing in your life - physical,
emotional, spiritual - that came because you were simply responding to
God's call. Because you were following Jesus instead of yourself!