Thursday, September 15, 2011

Another Study in Matthew 16

This week Pastor Dean has encouraged us all to memorize Matthew 16:24
“Then He said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

I love the last phrase…”whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever looses his life for me will find it.”  I love to think of this in not just a physical way, but in a spiritual way.  Chances are, in our comfy, tolerant (at least so far) mostly “Christian” society, not many of us are going to physically lay down our lives for the sake of the gospel.  It is altogether possible, but not likely.  So, how then is this verse applicable to us?

Lets look at spiritually loosing our lives through the context of Romans 6:11 “In the same way count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”    Dead to the world.  Dead to sin.  Dead to what we used to be before we knew or obeyed Christ.  Sin is death, but we are alive because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Colossians 2:13-14 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.”
 
What an awesome passage.  He “canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness.”  This was a debt so great, that is was un-payable.  My sins are so great, that “nothing but the blood of Jesus” could pay for it. 

Getting back to Matthew 16:24, and in light of the fact that He has already fully payed the price, what can I do to “deny myself” “take up my cross” and “loose my life” for Jesus?  Faith without works is dead, but works alone do not save! 

I want to live my life fully devoted to him.  To “take up my cross” could be something as small as turning the other cheek or patiently bearing the disapproval of the world.  It may mean sacrificing even more for the sake of the gospel.  I have always wondered if, when we all get to heaven, we will regret that we didn’t give more for our Savior.  We could have devoted more time to him, more money to him, more (fill in the blank) because in the end, that is all that matters!  

Most Christians would agree that Jesus is Lord of their life, but if you really believe that Jesus is Lord of your speech, how would you speak?
If you really believe that Jesus is Lord of your finances, how would you spend them?
If you really believe that Jesus is Lord of your day, how would you use it?
If you really believe that Jesus is Lord of your eating, how would you eat?  (oohhh stepping on toes, I know!)
If you really believe that Jesus is Lord of your music, what would you listen to?
If you really believe that Jesus is Lord of your walk, where would you go?

If you really believe that Jesus is Lord of your (fill in the blank) how would you (fill in the blank) ?

Something to chew on, huh.  I sure don’t have it all figured out. Daddy challenged us to think deeply about those questions listed above.  If, at the end of our lives all that really matters is what we did to please Him, through serving and witnessing to others, how much differently would we look at life.  

Maybe having the latest cars, biggest houses, nicest toys, and the most possessions wouldn’t be counted as success anymore.  

I would challenge you to join me in asking, every morning, “God, how can I use what you have given me today to give back to you?”  He has blessed me so abundantly, how can I bless Him back?  

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” ~Jim Elliot  

“This is everything I want
This is everything I need
I want this to be my one consuming passion
Everything my heart desires
Lord, I want it all to be for You, Jesus
Be my magnificent obsession”
~Magnificent Obsession Steven Curtis Chapman

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