For some reason, we have bought into the lie that following Jesus will be easy; not only have we bought into the lie we are spreading this false gospel.
Church's everywhere are modifying their message to make it more appealing to the masses. The consumer focused mindset has invaded Christianity, to the point that many water down the Biblical gospel in an attempt to make it more palatable and popular. But the reality is that it will never fill you up or satisfy because it is not the true saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Luke 9 Peter makes a confession of who Jesus is: Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
In this context Jesus tells Peter, and the Disciples, and all followers of him throughout the ages what it will actually look like to be a follower of Jesus.
Luke 9:23-26 “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
It’s pretty simple. Anyone who wants to come after Jesus into the kingdom of God—anyone who wants to be a Christian—has to face three commands: 1) deny him-self, 2) take up his cross daily, and 3) follow Him.
So my question for myself as I start this day:
- In what ways can I deny myself today?
How can I show that my life is no longer about me? It's not about me or my happiness, or my wealth, or my kingdom, or my anything else. I wonder if people can see this when they look at my life?
- In what ways can I take up my cross today?
A cross is a tool of death. To carry a cross means that you have counted the cost and have decided that Jesus is worth it. Jesus is worth whatever it might cost me.
Romans 12 reminds us to be a living sacrifice; we might be alive but our live is already spoken for!
- In what ways an I following my Lord today?
To follow is the opposite of leading. Are there any tangible ways that I can show that I am following and I am not leading?
These things are not easy and they do not come naturally; but Jesus never said it would come easy.