Then He said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.'
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.
As I write this devotion, I'm fasting. My family and I have chosen Wednesdays to fast for a while. I don't like fasting. I like my creature comforts as much as the next American. But am I bound by them? Do I look forward to goodies more than God? As for me, too often, I'm... Guilty!
But wait. Aren't we covered by His Blood? Aren't we innocent before our Father? If we believe in Jesus, must we deny ourselves to follow Him? By His Word, yes! Unless we're babies, yes!
If faith without works is dead, then affirming our Lord without denying ourselves is deadly. 'No one can serve two masters' (Matthew 6:24). 'If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand' (Mark 3:25).
'Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father' (Matthew 7:21). 'For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves' (1 Peter 2:15-16).
'Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it' (Matthew 7:14).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: How can slaves, servants or soldiers be selfish? Surely, we would be disciplined (at best) or disowned (at worst). Therefore, I urge us to keep a more rigorous regimen:
Practice self-denial. Practice fasting from favorite foods, frequent shopping and mainline media. Practice fasting from an easy life and choosing what's harder for you.
Because Jesus did. For 33 years, He denied Himself the righteous comforts of Heaven's kingdom. He denied Himself the worldly comforts of earth's reigning kings. He denied Himself the trappings of an easy life to example the path we must follow.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Soldier's Orders series.