Luke 9:23-27 – Then he 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. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
In the previous prayer guide we asked the all-important question, “Who is Jesus?” If He is truly the Christ of God, then it is altogether fitting that we should be ready and willing to be His disciples. In today’s passage, Jesus makes some hard demands and declarations. He plainly declares that to follow Him requires self-denial, complete dedication and willing obedience. Salvation is for those who lose their lives in Christ Jesus, NOT for those who seek to preserve their own life’s ambitions and goals. Although this teaching of Jesus is found in all four gospels, Luke is the only one of the gospel writers to emphasize the “daily” element of discipleship. This makes those actions of self-denial, dedication and obedience a continual and ongoing action – day by day, moment by moment!
In the middle of these hard declarations, Jesus raises another all-important question, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit his very self?” Having offered the way TO salvation and life, He now gives warning about choosing the WRONG path of life. Wrong priorities and values will result in forfeiture of the most important thing you possess! What is the value in gaining great wealth, fame, power and status if you lose what is eternally important – your very soul? So of course, the false truth claims will quickly assure those who place the greatest values on things and accomplishments that they are doing the right thing, by proclaiming that, “There is no life after death!” “There is no immortal soul!” “Eat, drink and party for tomorrow we die!” But, Jesus sets forth the sobering truth that one can indeed lose his soul – FOREVER!
His next word is NOT one He created for e-mail guilt trips that can be posted at the end of a message trying to make sure it gets passed on to someone else. “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words…” This is a word that calls us to demonstrate that we REALLY BELIEVE that what we believe about Jesus is REALLY REAL! Why should anyone be ashamed to publicly acknowledge that he/she believes that Jesus is the Christ of God? Why should anyone be ashamed of ANYTHING that Scriptures record and claim to be true about HIS LIFE, HIS TEACHING, and HIS PERSONHOOD? Herein lays the secret to becoming one of those who will see the kingdom of God in their lifetime! When you know the King well enough to trust His identity, His commands, His plans and purposes, then you will NOT be ashamed to stand and testify to that confidence! The Kingdom of God will be so plain to you that all else pales in comparison and you cannot help but preach it, live it and do all you can to reveal it to others!
Thursday: Meet together with at least 1 or 2 other believers to enter the Throne Room of Grace.
Friday: Pray for the Good News families of the week: Adam Doud, Joan Doud (Jessica – granddaughter), John & Christine Fargo (Giovanni, Isabelle, Claire).
Saturday: Meditate on what it means to deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow Jesus.
Sunday: Go to worship service with other believers and demonstrate in spirit and truth that you really believe that what you believe about Jesus is really real!
Monday: Give thanks for His promise of life abundant and eternal as you lose your life in Him.
Tuesday: Pray that others will turn from worldly ambitions that offer the possibility of fame, fortune and power but at the cost of their very soul!
Wednesday: Give praise to God for opening our blind eyes and allowing us to see His Kingdom right here, right now!
Prayer Challenge: Join with the Apostle Paul as you unashamedly celebrate Jesus and His glorious Gospel. “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16,17).