Sunday, April 29

It’s not easy

Scripture: 2 Samuel 4-5, Psalm 139, Matthew 16

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Observation

Jesus predicted His own suffering, death and resurrection, and Peter took Him aside and rebuked Him.  Jesus in turn rebukes Peter, and then says this: “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.”  

Application

This is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

Deny yourself.  This is the same word used of Peter denying that he knew Jesus.  Ignore yourself.  Refuse to recognize yourself as lord.  Begin to live in a wholly selfless manner.  This is a radical reorientation of my life!  Instead of everything revolving around me, what I want, I ignore myself and let my life revolve around Jesus and what He wants!  It means saying “no” to myself so I can say “yes” to Jesus.  Not easy!

Take up your cross.  This meant nothing less than death.  Death to my selfishness.  Death to my old life.  Death to me as lord.  This could mean a willingness to suffer and die for Christ, as so many have.  But it certainly means dying each day to my selfishness and letting Jesus be Lord.  Again…not easy.

Follow me.  Go where Jesus leads; do what Jesus does; imitate Him and obey His teaching.  This is so much more than just believing—it is obeying, following, imitating.  Also…not easy

Being a disciple of Jesus is not easy.  It is not the easy way.  

Matthew 7:13–14 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

It’s not easy—but it’s the way to life.  

Matthew 16:25 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

Prayer: Lord, this is a constant challenge for me.  Help me to put You first and deny myself and live for You!