by Trey Shearin
Someone once said “ The Christian wouldn’t be so difficult if it wasn’t daily” I don’t know who said it but they might have been loosely paraphrasing Luke 9.23.
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.Luke 9:23
We can reduce discipleship into programs or materials that we memorize. These can be helpful in training programs to measure progress but how do we measure self-denial? How do we measure daily death to our self? How do we track our path to follow Christ?
Before we answer those questions, we need to look at verses 24 and 25. Jesus talks about “losing” our life to save it. Jesus says “what does it ‘profit’ a man to gain the world and forfeit his soul”. So we need to add another question “Am I losing my life?”
Jesus gets to the heart of what we desire, self-preservation or self-denial. That’s why “daily” is so hard. That means the rest of our life this process is going on. Self-denial looks different if you are a single college student, dating someone or engaged. You have a stable job or unemployed. Married and kids or expectant mother with your 1st child. Kids in school playing sports and extracurricular activities or empty nester. We can seek our own desires in these “stages” of life or choose to follow Jesus in self-denial.
The focus of our desire becomes the issue. We seek to protect our own interests. Job, spouse, kids, dreams, role at church etc. In our culture, these are good things to live for. We will get rewarded for them and affirmed. Where is our life intersecting those that can’t benefit us? Where are we contending for the Gospel and it could cost us? Where is it that we live out of our comfort zone?
Dennis Rodman said “ I am not comfortable being comfortable”. Have we become comfortable as a disciple of Christ? If so, Luke 9.23 isn’t being applied. Its not comfortable to deny our self and daily die. Jesus spoke these words in the context of a passage when he tells them about his crucifixion and resurrection. Peter got rebuked in the Matt 16 account of this passage because he told Jesus it wouldn’t happen. Talk about being uncomfortable.
Being a lifetime disciple of Christ is a pursuit that demands daily death and self-denial. A life of not being comfortable or seeking our own comfort. Jesus may call you to change jobs, a major or career. He may be calling you to get out in your neighborhood for few hours on Saturday for community service project. Volunteer somewhere you see a need. Invite people into your home to build friendships. Reach out and serve a difficult co-worker. Whatever it is, it won’t be comfortable at first. As you grow as a disciple in the stages of life, my prayer would be that you become comfortable in the uncomfortable and the Spirit of God give you Comfort.
Trey Shearin– Married to Cynthia, Our four sons Brad(Megan and sweet Elliotte) Marel, Howie and Asa. A Jesus guy. Football fan. BBQ novice. RV park owner.