Salvation is free and available to all who accept the invitation. Unfortunately, so many “accept Jesus as their lord and personal savior”, but never allow Him to reign on the throne of their hearts. It is easy to be a Christian in church and it is very easy to claim you believe in God, but faith without works is dead. So many will speak in tongues but have a mind that isn’t yet renewed. It is easy to wear a nice church outfit, hat, heels and a long skirt, but not everyone allows God to give them a new heart. A heart that hates what God hates and loves what He loves. We shouldn’t just look the part, we must act the part. Not just a form of godliness, but living a lifestyle like Christ.
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
Deny Himself: – To continually tell your flesh no. You don’t do the sins that you used to commit and allow to rule your live. Instead, you’re submitting to God. You have lost sight of self and now your eyes are on Jesus. – This is where you allow your mind to be renewed with the word of God and your heart to be changed in His presence. – Put away your desires for God’s desires. You rather put your dreams on hold or let them go for the sake of the gospel. – The old you is dead and gone, but Christ is now living through you.
Take up your cross daily: – Your share of sufferings with Christ. We want to reign with Him, but first we must suffer with Him (2 Timothy 2:12). Paul was a mighty man of God, but despite everything he done, he still stated that he wanted to know God. One aspect of knowing God he said was being in “fellowship with his sufferings” and “being made conformable unto His death” (Philippians 3:10). – When carrying a cross, you don’t have strength to carry other things. We shouldn’t be trying to hold on to sin. We cannot walk hand in hand with God and satan simultaneously. – No cross, no crown. God will give us beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3), but we must get burned first. Jesus couldn’t rise as king if He wasn’t crucified first.
Follow Jesus: – You are obedient to His word. Even to the ones that you don’t want to obey, you submit to His divine will over your own desires. – Wherever God leads, you follow. Even when times seem hard, you trust His plan. – Hold tightly to Him. You know that without His word, you cannot live. – You conform and begin to act the same way He does. Whoever you hang around is going to rub off on you. If you’ve been around Jesus a long time, it’ll be displayed in your lifestyle and in the way you treat others. If you’ve haven’t, that’ll be very obvious as well. – You are the reflection of the company you keep, the things you entertain, and the motives of your heart.
One thing we must realize that following Jesus isn’t just “do’s” and “dont’s”. It’s about breaking up with the world and falling in love with Jesus. When you love Jesus, no one has to tell you to obey Him, you’ll want to (John 14:15). “….his commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3), which means the things God requires of us are not overwhelming or too much to handle. Holiness is only a problem for someone who hasn’t made up their mind that their living completely for Jesus.
Let today be the day that you decide who you will serve. Will you serve the living God, Jesus? Or will you continue to live for the god of your emotions, indulging in a life of sin and selfish ambitions? Jesus is asking us for everything, because those who are playing church actually have no use to God (Revelation 3:16). God doesn’t want us to just attend church, ministry begins outside of the church. Christianity is more than singing on choirs or playing instruments, it’s having a relationship with the Creator. When Jesus said “follow me”, he didn’t mean “look at me from a far”, “life will be easy”, nor did He say “watch others”. Jesus simply bids us to follow closely beside Him, having an intimate connection to Him and His presence. So let’s put aside the games and distractions and start actually living what we read.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for being such a great God. I do not know why you would choose me to be your child, but I am willingly accepting your request. Strengthen me as I follow You, because sometimes life seems hard and lonely. I pray that you’ll continue to guide me, in Jesus name, amen!