Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Last week I mentioned how we can not force Jesus on others and by doing so, we cheapen Jesus to them and ourselves--we are not "really" trusting in Christ. It's not our job to change others into His image. His Word is powerful enough to do that. Jesus said, "...unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3 What must we be willing to do when we are Born Again of God? That's right... We give our life to Christ. We must be willing to "lose" our life (and as our verse says) deny ourselves.... Daily putting our own life aside and allowing Christ to live through us.
Most people who were raised up in a Christian home, accepted Jesus as their Savior (myself included) so that we wouldn't go to hell when we died. Then we were taught the 10 commandments along with a lot of do's and don'ts. That isn't really believing in what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross. It is no different than what the Jews were doing in Paul's days--Telling the Christian's they must still be circumcised.
Jesus taught that we can't mix new wine and put it in old wine skins--It will be disastrous. We wonder sometimes why God isn't moving miraculously in our lives the way He did for those in the early church--Mark tells us in Mark 7:13 that those religious traditions that we hold so dear is what keeps us from receiving our victory. As long as we are still trying to do things in our own effort... we won't accept the salvation (the promises) Christ has provided.
Churches look for people with talents and abilities in the natural, to serve and work in the church--But God, looks at the heart and uses the simply, untalented... unskilled persons to carry out great exploits for Him. For Jesus said, "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it." Mark 8:35 We must deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Christ. As long as we trust in our own ability, we won't depend on Christ's ability.
Father, forgive me for trying to do things on my own... and in my own strength. Forgive me for not trusting in You completely and only You. I surrender completely to You. I am willing to lose what ever life I could have hear and give it to You for Your use. It is then that I will clearly see that I have truly found "Life" and not just existence. Amen