GOD > Self
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
Life can be exhausting, especially for those who can’t say “no”. They stretch themselves like rubber bands over multiple ministry opportunities and life’s extra-curricular activities, and in time they stretch thin and snap. Maybe you’re in a season of over commitment. Maybe you’re in recovery and have even practiced saying, “No!” in the bathroom mirror before stepping into the next volunteer meeting.
Whether you can identify with that kind of breathless living or not, if we’re truly transparent we all have problems saying no to people. And the people most difficult to say no to is . . . us!
Instead of saying no to self and all that our sinful nature desires, we plop ourselves on the throne of our heart and use the language of the Land of Me. I need . . . I want . . . I expect . . . I deserve . . . It’s a mini-kingdom mentality centered on me, myself, and I. It makes much of self and less of God.
Our Savior Jesus who left the throne room of heaven and made Himself nothing teaches by example and words what it means to live for His Kingdom. He said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
Deny yourself. This is foreign language in a culture of entitlement. If we’re going to say yes to God’s greatness in our lives, it’s means saying no to self. The throne of our heart isn’t built for two. Worship Christ, adore Christ, fix your eyes on Christ until you find pleasing Him abundantly more life giving and beautiful than pleasing self.
Take up your cross daily. The cross is a place of suffering and sacrifice. Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross. He sacrificed His very life so we could have life. As His disciples, we’re called to do the same. What needs to be sacrificed to say yes to God and no to self? What is the primary thing that distracts you and me from a Christ-centered life? That’s where our sacrifice needs to begin.
Follow Jesus. Even the very youngest child knows how to play Follow the Leader. With childlike faith we need to relinquish our control issues, surrender, and stand behind Jesus. Follow His example. Trust His lead.
HE>i: Who or what has reigned supreme in your life in the past hour? Pray for God’s help to say yes to Him and no to self.
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