Thursday, September 18, 2014

September 18 - Deny Yourself and Follow Me

Today's Reading: 
Genesis 39:1-41:16
Luke 9:7-27
Psalm 15:1-5
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Focus Verses:
Luke 9:23-25
23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

The things that are best for me may not always appear to be so at first glance. What might seem to be good for me may actually be bad. Jesus says that putting myself first is the worst thing I can possibly do for me. Jesus says that while avoiding things that are difficult and sacrificial may seem to be a safe course, it will lead to my ruin. Jesus says that working to accumulate things is the way to lose what matters most. Jesus says that being obsessed with winning is the surest path to defeat.

Following Jesus—listening to him, obeying him, emulating him—may not make sense to those who do not recognize him as life and truth. It may appear to be loss, but in reality it is gain. It may appear to be hardship, but in reality it is blessing. It may appear to be a cross, but in reality it is a crown. It may appear to be a rejection of yourself, but in reality it is the only way to discover and become the person God has in mind for you to be.

Response and Action:
Experience is the only way to test Jesus' words. Taking action is the only way to prove his promises. He says that the way to save myself is to lose myself for him.

I believe that Jesus has more to offer me than the world does. I believe that his way is better than my way. I believe that his wisdom is greater than mine. I believe that following him is better than trying to find my own way. Because I believe Jesus Christ, I will follow, listen, and obey—even when his way seems like foolishness to others.

O God, you have sent your Son, Jesus, into the world to be a light and he has called me to walk in his ways. Because I love him, I will obey him. Because I trust him, I will follow him. Because I have followed Him for years, I believe him even more today. Because I have obeyed him, I trust him more. Because I find life and meaning and purpose in him, I desire to surrender to him more and more. Give me the wisdom and the will to lose myself in him. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses:  
Philippians 3:7-9
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

Who Switched the Price Tags
by Tony Campolo

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