“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.‘” Luke 9:23
Contemplating my relationship with God, I envision myself standing on an endless ocean shore. The ocean represents my Christian life; the horizon represents eternity. The cool, exhilarating surf consoles my feet — retreating momentarily only to reveal my temporary impression in the shifting sand. The receding tide’s unrelenting whisper beckons me to step into the deep and discover Jesus below the surface. Regrettably, I am content with the shoreline’s safety. I fear the deep may cost me my life.
In Luke 9:23, Jesus unapologetically defines the criteria for being His disciple. His non-negotiable counter cultural declaration transcends stagnant belief. Jesus invites us to deny and die to self.
In today’s narcissistic culture, Jesus’ statement sounds unreasonable and unachievable, but He reiterates with emphasis that if we lose our life for Him, we shall surely save it. Is this a confusing contradiction? No, Jesus’ unpopular, intimidating assertion is possible, especially for believers yearning to grow through deepening their knowledge and intimacy with God.
Theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, reiterates, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” So how do we realistically die to self?
Self-preservation paralyzes our resolve to step into the deep and mature in our faith. Stepping into the deep involves obedience and risk; however, Jesus reassures us “whoever loses their life for me will save it” so we shouldn’t be content to live life on the safe shore of stagnant belief. Let’s live life embracing Jesus’ daily invitation to step into the deep — dying to self — thriving in Him.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you, Lord, for the privilege of being in relationship with You. Reveal to me the aspects of self that hinder my life in you. Empower me to step off the shore of comfort and stagnant belief and to daily step into the deep so I can get to know you under the surface. Enable me to experience intimacy and life in you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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