Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
If you’re like me, you take advantage of the resources available on line to seek answers to the ‘How To’ questions we have. There’s stuff we need to do, and by going to Google we can type in our issue and find sources that tell us how to do it. Today’s verse offers us a prime example of a ‘How To’ issue. We might ask, “Please tell me ‘How To’ 1) deny myself, 2) take up my cross, and 3) follow Jesus. We want to do these things, but how?
Some of the themes we’ve been writing about are walking in His ways; obeying His commands; loving God; and continuing in His word. We have contrasted suggestions versus commands. We’ve talked about the problem some of us have when we hear the word ‘commands’. It’s like we have an allergic reaction to the word. But we must get past that to recognize they are the answers to the great “How To’s” of our faith.
Our goal is to help us come to grips with the fact that the New Testament is filled with such ‘answers’ that we as Christians are to ‘do’. Today let’s look at some of the ‘answers’ that are spread throughout the New Testament that describe denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Jesus:
- Do everything in love.
- Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit
- In humility consider others better than yourselves
- Your attitude should be that of Christ Jesus
- Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling
- Do everything without complaining or arguing
- Rejoice in the Lord always
- Let your gentleness be evident to all
- Do not be anxious about anything
- Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry
- Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
- Bear with each other
- Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another
- Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts
- Be thankful
- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
- Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men
Do we understand that these are not suggestions! And they are just a handful of what the Bible contains for us. They are not elective or optional. By embracing these things and allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work in us, we deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Jesus. This is the way – and the only way – to express our love to God.