Can you recall Jesus’ radical philosophy: “Be a servant, give to others”? The basis of that statement is tucked away in Luke 9:23. Following Christ is a costly, unselfish decision. He says: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
When you look closely at Jesus’ statement, a couple of things seem important. First, those who desire to follow Him closely must come to terms with self-denial. And second, this decision to give ourselves to others (taking up our cross) has to be a daily matter.
Some questions we must ask and answer ourselves are:
Am I serious about being a follower of Jesus Christ?
Do I think of others to such an extent that self-denial is becoming the rule rather than the exception in my life?
Is my walk with Him a daily thing?
A thorough self-examination is one of the requisites for following closely. Paul tells us to abound in generosity, be givers, be people who excel in unselfishness. That’s costly stuff, terribly expensive. Can you pay the price?
Taken from “The Cost of Giving” by Insight for Living Ministries (used by permission).
The Christian life is just that—a life, not a lifestyle. Sadly, a lot of churches preach Christianity as a list of dos and don’ts. Then faith looks like a formula: Jesus’ saving grace plus doing good things minus doing bad things = righteousness. Most of us have enough problems without worrying about whether we’re following the extra-biblical rules of one church.
A man-made formula for righteousness runs counter to scriptural teaching. In fact, Jesus condemned the Pharisees for such heavy-handed religion (Matt. 23:1-4). He, on the other hand, offered liberty through grace. Neither keeping God’s Law by self-effort nor adhering to extra rules makes a person free. Legalistic believers are in bondage and growing ever weaker.
When a person accepts the saving grace of Jesus, he or she receives a new life (Rom. 6:4). This is not an uptight lifestyle of doing good works. A believer is a changed person—same body but a transformed mind and heart. Christ lives through you. His Holy Spirit flows into your spirit as sap runs in a grapevine. It’s like getting a spiritual blood transfusion! Strength pumps into places where weakness once prevailed. Why rely upon your frail self when the courage and power to follow God’s will is available through Christ?
I know what it feels like to burn out from trying to do good in my own strength. My desire for you is that you’ll surrender to the Lord. Depend upon Him to change you from the inside out, and trust that He will. Jesus is your life. He will never get tired of transforming you.
Taken from “The Source of Our Strength” by In Touch Ministries (used by permission).