Manage episode 290028980 series 2800784
One of the people who have inspired my faith is a man named, Jim Elliot. On January 8, 1956, he and three other men were attacked and killed by the Auca Indians in the jungles of Ecuador while they were taking the gospel to them.
Before he went to South America Jim wrote these words in his diary: “God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life that I may burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God for it is Thine. I seek not a long life but a full one like You, Lord Jesus.” ... “He is no fool to give what he cannot keep in order to gain that which he can never lose.”
Although the world would say that Jim LOST his life that day, the truth is he lost his life to Christ before he ever went. He surrendered his life to Jesus and lived a crucified life. The Aucas couldn’t really kill Jim Elliot that day because he was already dead; he was dead to self and alive in Christ. Today the Auca Indians have been reached for Christ.
You see the cross of Jesus Christ had a lingering impact on Jim’s life and how he lived it. Let me ask you, “What does the cross of Christ mean to you? What does it mean to us as believers?
For anyone who has a heart that follows after God, you realize that the cross of Jesus calls for something from us. You can’t just view the cross and walk away. It asks something of us.
Mark 8:34-37 - “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
You have to admit, these are strong words from Jesus. Let’s take a look, as Christians, at our response to the cross of Christ.
For us the cross means we are willing to lay down our rights.
"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself..." Notice that Jesus does not say, "Let him hate himself." He is not asking us to deny our basic humanity, our personhood.
The word, "deny" means to "disavow any connection with something, to state that you are not connected in any way."
Denying self means that we renounce our natural feelings about ourselves, our right to ourselves, our right to run our own lives. We are to deny that we own ourselves. We do not have the final right to decide what we are going to do, or where we are going to go.
Jesus is saying, “Let him give up his rights to run his life, let him submit himself to my leadership, to my Lordship." And this is fundamental to all discipleship. There can be no discipleship apart from it.”
For us the cross means we are prepared to sacrifice.
"Let him deny himself, and take up his cross..." What does "take up his cross" mean? The 12 disciples probably wondered the same thing!
For Jesus the cross was a place where he laid down his life in sacrifice for others.
Any circumstance or any incident in which God calls for us to sacrifice for his cause - is our cross.
For us the cross means we are ready to obey. "Follow me." This really means, "Obey me."
Now, we all struggle with this. I fail at this many times. Jesus is not talking about perfection as a disciple; he is simply telling us what discipleship means, what it involves. It involves following him. It means choosing to do or say what Jesus commands us to do or say. It means looking to him for the power to carry it through.
Today’s Challenge: Our response to all that Jesus has done on the cross is that we would take up our cross and follow him. Are you ready to follow? You can make that commitment to Jesus today.