“And he said to them all, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’” - Luke 9:23 (KJV)
Before I continue with the topic of this blog, let’s review some key points from last week’s discussion:
- We established an identity for the old man who was passed down from Adam. The old man is our flesh; the sin nature with which we were born.
- We were also reminded that our righteous Lord has declared a death sentence on the old man.
In this week’s blog, we will consider the specific steps mandated by our Lord that help us model the Master.
“If any man will come after me…”
First, there is a desire to follow Jesus Christ. The word desire does not only indicate an interest but also represents an investment. This desire will require a cost! It is a passion that purely pursues the Lord and His purposes in your life.
“…let him deny himself…”
Second, we must deny ourselves. To deny oneself means to forget oneself, lose sight of oneself and one's own interests. Simply put, it means to operate in other-centeredness. This concept is so counterculture. According to the world, in order to experience joy you must place yourself as number one on the priority and pleasure list. But J.O.Y. in a believer’s life is not only a state of mind and heart but also a directive from our Lord:
“…take up his cross daily…”
Third, we must die daily. The call to die daily is a consistent call! It is a regular habit for theold man (our flesh) to resist our attempts to destroy him - just like John McClane in the Die Hard movie series, as we discussed last week. But God makes it plain that our old man has to die! If he is not put to death, he will continue to dictate the direction in your life, causing you to defy the Lord’s will for you.
According to scripture, the old man has a horrific heart problem and he always follows his heart.
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” - Genesis 6:5 (KJV)
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” - Mark 7:21-23 (KJV)
This why it is always a good day to Die Hard!
Now we must be clear in our application of dying. Jesus is speaking spiritually when He demands a daily discipline of dying. It is impossible to be crucified literally every day. What our Lord is mandating is an attitude adjustment. We must model His action on Calvary daily by having the same attitude toward death and life that He had!
Questions for Consideration:
- Are you willing to be a martyr?
- Are you willing to follow Him to the ends of the earth?
- Are you willing to walk away from any attitude that is detrimental to your discipleship?
- Will you renounce and negate the nouns in your life - Persons, Places, and Things that diminish God and puts self on display?
In closing, let’s look at what it means to die H.A.R.D. I hope you will entertain the following exercise of faith that will reinforce and execute the orders of our Lord.
Holy Spirit calls us to die daily
Allegiance to our Lord calls us to die daily
Rapid response to the call to die daily
Determine to die daily
Not a Sermon But a Thought,