And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38
Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:
The ultimate choice in life is whether we will follow the world and live for ourselves or we will follow Christ and live for him. In a prayer response from a while back, the following words were offered to God, “I want your involvement in my life to be about you and what my life can bring to you rather than it being about me and what your life can bring to me.” It is difficult for us to get to the spot where we, in an absolutely uncompromised response to God, offer such words to him as a genuine expression of our heart. It is even more difficult to go forward living it out. This is the call being extended to us from today’s passage. Following Christ or not is a serious matter. Letting him bring about the changes he came to make is not a hit or miss thing.
What is the true orientation of our lives? Is our life really given over to God for whatever he wants? Are we really willing and ready for whatever comes next no matter how difficult and challenging? We will be, if we have chosen to have our life be about God and not us and we are confident that God is in charge, he knows what he is doing, and will only allow what is truly best for us and the advancement of his kingdom. Dying to self and losing our lives for the sake of Christ and the gospel is a high calling. Responding well to this high calling is a very smart choice and absolutely worth the cost.
Discipleship is about letting Christ make the difference in our lives he desires for us, but it is also about letting Him use us to make that same difference in the world (the gone astray, go your own way, do your own thing world) we live in every day. The life Christ calls us to and the life He wants to offer to the world through us is a life that runs counter to the culture of that very world. And so for willing Christians, a revolutionary and demanding path lies ahead. Are we prepared to address the corruption of our culture with the life altering message and power of Jesus Christ. If so, it means we are first willing to let the Holy Spirit discover and root out anything of the corruption of our culture that is still a part of our lives. It is then that he will be free to use us however he wants to use us to make a difference in our world today.
Jesus spoke the words of today’s passage to the crowds and his disciples. However, comprehending these words is something that lies ahead in the future for those who originally heard them. After the resurrection of Christ and the giving of the Holy Spirit, comprehension came and the world has not been the same since as the men and women of the early church lived out the high calling we have considered today. These simple people went forward unashamedly in the name of Jesus and rocked their world for the sake of Christ and the gospel and we must do the same today.
Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:
Lord, I want your involvement in my life to be about you and what my life can bring to you rather than it being about me and what your life can bring to me. I am confident that you are in charge, you know what you are doing, and will only allow what is truly best for me and the advancement of your kingdom. I know you will help me fully comprehend, embrace, and live out the high calling you have for me. I choose to die to self and lose my life for your sake and the sake of the gospel. Amen!