Thursday, August 6, 2009

Daily - 8/6/09

Matthew 16:24-28

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.

25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

26 What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?

27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.

28 Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."


I used to have "Good Guy" syndrome. I'm a relatively good guy, and try to do the right thing. I go to Church, I believe that Christ is my savior. The problem is, that's not where Christ has set the bar. He's very clear in this passage though: deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him.

Have you ever thought hard about what it means to truly follow Jesus? How far are we willing to follow? It's a pretty tall order. Impossible for a mere mortal, right? But think this through with me. If I was created in Christ (Col 1:16), through Christ (John 1:3), and for Christ (Col 1:16); and if Christ is life itself (John 1:4) and lives in me (Gal 2:20), what goes wrong?

The answer is that so often I chose to not live by faith in Him. On one hand that is an inevitable result of the fall of man, but … just think what could be. The creator of the world, the physical manifestation of truth (John 14:6), the redeemer, and the King of Kings all live inside of me. The Lord of earth and sky, the Lord who walked on water and calmed the storm, the Lord who made the blind see and the crippled walk, the Lord who raised Lazarus from the dead ... is inside of me. If He is the creator of the world, he can most certainly create change in me.

I need to let Him do it. Somehow I need to get to where I consistently give myself over to Him, so that He can build me into the man He wants me to be, and do the work that He wants me to do.

Just think about it. The most powerful force in the universe – the creator of the universe itself – lives inside of me. On my own, I absolutely can’t break the grip of what Christ calls “the world”. The great thing, though, is that I don’t have to do it myself. I can’t be righteous on my own, but Christ is righteousness for me. Because I have that, I actually am capable of living to the standard of living He gives us in the gospels (e.g., the first third of Matthew 5). If I can just remind myself that I’m always in His presence and just plain get out of His way and let Him do His thing, I can live a much higher spiritual life.

By the way, we can see ample evidence of this by studying the lives of the saints. It's worth doing.