"Then he (Jesus) said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.' " Luke 9:23-24
God wants us completely. Faith in Christ is not a Sunday-only proposition. No, God gave His Son not so we could sit in our places and sing songs and hear speakers tickle our ears with emotional appeals for us to be “good people.” God wants only to make ourselves available, forsaking television, incessant spending at the mall, continuous entertainment or whatever else consumes your time. God knew that when we understood fully the sacrifice Jesus made it forever transform us and the change in us would be so apparent that others would be indirectly drawn to Him. However, most who profess to be Christ followers have not fully embraced the sacrificed nor been transformed by it. Even though we profess that Jesus is Lord and believe what the Bible says about Him, the sincerity of our belief cannot make Christianity real to others. Why haven't we been transformed?
I believe the answer lies in Luke 9:23-24. Jesus, speaking to his disciples of his upcoming execution, said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." The fact is many of us (me included) have lived out our faith with one foot in the world and one foot in God's Kingdom. That approach doesn’t work. If you want to follow Jesus you must put your own desires, your own wants aside (Crucify Yourself) and obey God exclusively. We must sacrifice ourselves (our life as it was before we chose to follow Him). He wants us to stop being consumed by worldly pursuits, job, money, house car, status. Rather He wants us to put God's desires foremost in our lives. Rather than preaching God's word with our mouths and secretly worshipping idols let us be forthright and show integrity. Our inability to "lose our lives" and walk with the King has rendered us ineffective as ambassadors for Christ and made us unattractive to non-believers. It is time to put away childish things and start living lives worthy of His Name.
My Prayer. Father, help us to see ourselves the way that You do. Make our reflection repugnant to us. Drive us to our knees Lord and give us the desire to pick up our crosses daily and follow you. Forgive us for our selfishness. Forgive us for putting ourselves ahead of the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. Forgive us for making our sinful desires a higher priority than a relationship with you. Forgive us for trying to sabotage your plan of redemption through our disobedience. Help us Lord to turn ourselves away from all that we know is displeasing to You, In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.