Following Christ and Self Denying

Luke 12: 8-9
I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.

How do we deny Jesus before others? How do we acknowledge Christ before the angels of God?

When I was young this statement would bring an image of me being held at gunpoint with the question – “Do you love Jesus?” If I were to answer yes, I would die. If I were to answer no, I would live. Was ready to die to answer yes?  I needed to be!  While still valid, I doubt this will ever happen to me.

How do I acknowledge or deny Christ then?    By deciding which is more important. Human approval and comforts of this world or following Christ? With that question, I answer “following Christ.” But, do I know the contract I am signing by saying I will follow Christ?

Mark 8: 34
He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.’

Three things: 1) Deny himself, 2) take up his cross, 3) follow Jesus.

  1. Deny himself – Say no to human approval, your honor, your selfish comforts. If it means someone else suffers in the least bit, don’t do it. Do not push someone down to raise yourself one millimeter. Find joy in pushing yourself down just to raise someone else.
  2. Taking up his cross – Do not concern yourself with someone wronging you. Do not seek to make the world even. Find that any suffering is a tribute to Jesus. But also understand that if we do not love Jesus above all, if we have expectations of what God will do for us on earth, then our suffering is not a tribute.
  3. Follow Jesus – keep learning, keep discerning, keep praying. Do not ever think that you have won against evil and that you can sit back and let ‘er ride. You have never won, and race is not over until you die from this world. Keep following. We must keep praying that God will teach us how to love because we will never be experts. We will never have the ability to love like Jesus did. But, we can have to ability to keep learning.

That is the contract that I must accept. Three things.

I am blessed, and try hard not to take my blessings for granted.  And, when I breach this contract, I must admit to my weaknesses, confess my sins, and promise to try to sin no more.  After this, the contract gets presented to me again (and again, and again).  For that repetition I am truly and most grateful.