And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23 ESV)
There is a popular gospel being told these days that we are to love and accept ourselves just as we are. This is what the Lord does and so should we. As the song goes, we are to come to Him, ‘Just as we are without one plea,’ and once we’ve met Him at the cross, that’s it. We’re good to go. There is no need to change our lifestyle, reflect or repent but just embrace His free gift and wait for His blessings to come down.
While I encourage people to find their new identity in Christ and to stop flogging themselves for their confessed and buried transgressions, I am not telling them to shrug their shoulders and continue in sin. No, we are to turn away from our old lives – actually detest the dead ol’ person from our past – and bury her. We are not to believe that He wants to wrap us up in full-on-acceptance of our life of sin without any repentance. We are to throw off the old self and put on Christ!
After all, the Christian walk is not about falling in love with ourselves, it’s about falling in love with Jesus! We need to deny our own existence and take on His name (hint, that’s why they call us Christians). Going to church and worship should never be about self-help, but always about our desperate need for the Holy Spirit intervening and transforming our lives. Oh that we would not accept any ear tickling teaching that tells us otherwise!
Father, forgive us for being such arrogant, egotistical people. Help us to turn our eyes away from ourselves and to be focused on becoming more and more like Your Son.