Thursday, May 19, 2016

Luke 9:23

Luke 9:23
And He was saying to all, “If someone desires to come behind me, let him deny himself and daily take up his cross, and follow me.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

I noticed something the in the Greek text of verse 23 as I was translating it that I had never seen before.  The verbs in this verse are all 3rd person imperative.  The imperative is the voice of command.  These are not suggestions for getting God’s attention.  These are commands that should be followed.  In this I am led back to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s famous quote, “Only those who obey believe; only those who believe obey.”  Following God – imitating Christ – is fundamentally rooted in obedience.

How willing are you to submit in obedience?  What makes it easy to submit to God?  What makes it difficult?

Second Thought:

Look at the first of these commands.  Deny yourself.  That’s a very huge command.  We are to deny ourselves.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever do anything we enjoy.  What it means is that we need to do the things God’s desires for us.  We need to learn to put our natural desires aside and embrace God’s desires, making them our own.  When we can honestly say that God’s desires are our desires, then we are denying ourselves.

Where have you learned to deny yourself?  Where have you failed to deny yourself and continue to pursue your own desires over God?

Third Thought:

The last two imperatives are “take up your cross” and “follow me.”  Taking up your cross can mean many things, but my favorite way to think about it is to examine our lives for the influence of sin and to struggle against it.  Of course, this influence of sin can be an internal struggle; but it can also be an external struggle as it was for Jesus.  With respect to following Jesus, once again we return to the idea of obedient submission.  To follow Jesus implies that we aren’t in charge and He is.

How do you take up your cross daily?  How do you follow Christ?  In what ways can others see these dynamics at work in your life?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 9:24-27
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