DEVOTION – DAY 32
Matthew 16:24 – “Our response to Christ’ sacrifice”
Every year near Easter, we spend more time thinking about the cross. The cross of Jesus Christ is central to God’s plan to redeem fallen sinful people to Himself. The cross is where God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ took our place to atone for our sins. Without the cross, there is no resurrection, no forgiveness for our sins, no eternal life and no hope for anyone of us. How does God want you and I to respond to Christ’ great sacrifice on the cross on our behalf?
Matthew 16:24: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Deny yourself. This means a number of things. You and I must give up our sinful habits and attitudes. We stop thinking we are self-sufficient, independent, capable and good people and admit we are helpless to save ourselves from God’s judgment for our sins. We admit that we cannot save ourselves no matter how hard we try. We surrender totally to be used by God for His greater purposes in and through us.
Take up your cross. The cross is individual for everyone of us. We cannot carry the cross for someone else. We must not think that if our wives are active in church, or if your husband is serving as a church leader, or if our parents are Christians, that is good enough. All of us must take up our cross and what God has planned for each one of us may be different. Some of you may be called to give generously to the Covid-19 fund started by our church because God has given you the funds. Some of you may be called to help those who are housebound or have no transport. Some of you may be on your knees as prayer warriors. Some of you may serve as spiritual leaders and so on. We are called to willingly take up our cross. It is not an option.
Follow Jesus. You are to follow Jesus all the time. Not when it is convenient or when you are retired and you have more free time. You are to follow where Jesus sends you even if you do not know all the details, the when, the where or the how. You are to do what Jesus tells you to do even if you do not fully understand why. If Jesus impresses upon your heart to give free tuition to some neighborhood kids, will you follow Him to do this calling? The amazing thing is as you and I take up our cross and follow Jesus, we will find that the experience will change us to be more and more like Christ. When we are willing to submit and obey, the Holy Spirit will work in and through us to be a channel of blessing to others.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son, the Lord Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. May we all respond by denying ourselves, taking up our cross and to follow him all the days of our lives. In Jesus Christ name, we pray. Amen.
- How and what must you deny to yourself in order to please God?
- What cross is the Lord calling you to take up? What is your response to His call?
- Are you prepared to follow the Lord wherever and whatever He wants of you? Discuss.