"And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, this is the one who will save it. For what good does it do a person if he gains the whole world, but loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels." Luke 9:23-26 NASB
The placement of this part of Luke caught me this morning. It's after Peter confessing Jesus to be the Christ and the Transfiguration. The Transfiguration being a taste of seeing the Kingdom.
But what we read is very important even for its brevity. Who you live for determines whether you are living a life ashamed of your relationship with Jesus or you aren't.
If you live life striving for health, wealth and prosperity and only that after coming to Christ for salvation, then you aren't living for Jesus.
I have had my priorities changed in big ways in the last 8 months. Oh its hard to believe it's been 8 months since things began that brought us here.
I loathe misuse of Scripture by meme's and people trying to make a point out of context. There's no extra punishment for scrolling past a post on Facebook that if you don't like and share that proves you are ashamed of Jesus. To be truthful its not even funny. That's taking away from the meaning of it all.
We can be driven people. We can pursue things in life. We read in many places in the Scriptures of every man doing what was right in their own eyes.
We see here of Jesus teaching of the depth of the seriousness of Discipleship.
Living on our whims isn't it.
Living on our personal desires over God's Will isn't it.
Look at the 4 Gospel accounts. There's good reason why there's 4. We need to see the truth about BEING a Disciple from multiple sources.
We see that they were taught to do what we see in what Jesus said here.
To live for yourself tends to push God aside.
To live with worries and sins verses prayer and freedom from sins is to show shame of what God's ways are versus ours.
We can't live for self and please God.
We read many times in Romans 12 that as Christians we have a role, a place and responsibilities in the body of Christ.
To have excuses for not following through with those is to be showing shame for your relationship with Jesus.
I say excuses because there are no acceptable reasons for not obeying.
There's no list of ways to get out of obeying God's word.
I think on how this plays out in the children's song of "If You're Happy and You Know It". The line that says "If you're happy and you know it your life will surely show it...".
We can indeed pursue success in life...but it needs to be success in what God's desiring to fulfill in us. When we seek our own interests and not God's then we are not taking up our own cross and following Him.
We see these two points are connected.
To take up our own cross is tied to a life of purpose and that purpose in Christ that does not need to be showing shame.
We sometimes hear a phrase of let go and let God. Well this too ties into Godly living.
When we look around at our life choices and see lots of self and very little of obedience in our walk with Jesus then indeed we need to question who we are ashamed of.
I often feel like this new hometown is another chance at getting my life's direction and priorities right. I was forced to let go of a lot when we moved. I had began months earlier not even knowing we were really going to be moving. It was hard and honestly painful to let go of stuff.
I still brought stuff that I am considering getting rid of because I don't want stuff preventing me from living out my faith because of putting those things above my relationship with my Savior.
We can be absolutely the best at justification if our thoughts and actions.
We can provide the most absolutely rock solid reasoning with spreadsheets and graphs if necessary to prove our position behind our choices. What it comes down to it, do our choices line up with obedience to Jesus. Do our choices in what we have around us show us putting value to things, to careers, to entertainment, above our relationship to Jesus?
We can't have a divided heart. Anyone who's had physical heart trouble knows the consequences of a heart that isn't wholly devoted to working as God intended. It's the same in Spiritual matters.
Jesus said you can't love the world and God. You can't.
You will indeed stand before Jesus some day to give an account of your life's deeds. Will they show you had lived for Jesus or for you? Will it show you valued your personal health, wealth and prosperity over what you could have had if you had lived for Jesus the way He intended? Read the rest of the New Testament. We aren't guaranteed a life of health, wealth and prosperity. We are guaranteed personal tribulations. We are guaranteed struggles as the Spirit does what surgeries are necessary to make us more like Christ Jesus. We are told in advance of this and we are still given the choice and chance to obey or not.
Many Believers have been called home early in this life due to not obeying. They were giving Jesus a bad name in how they lived.
You come to Jesus you choose what He has in mind for you and your life.
Do you see yourself as taking up your own cross in how you live? You need to look in the mirror, stop with the excuses, and submit to the obedience that the Spirit is showing you. Everyone in Christ is being shown how to live in Christ Jesus. There are no exceptions to that.
To not have a life that surely shows it...you certainly won't be happy...and you know it.
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