Luke 9:23 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.
From yesterday we understand that we must first have a desire to go after Jesus. We touched a little on denying self, but what does that really look like for you personally? Seriously, what pulls you away from Christ and you intimately walking with Him? This question is difficult because it will touch some pretty dear things to you.
The Greek word for deny is aparneomai pronounced ä-pär-ne'-o-mī and it means
to deny- 1. to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone, 2. to forget one's self, lose sight of one's self and one's own interest.
We are to deny the connection with ourselves, we are to lose sight of ourselves, we are to lose sight of our own interests. For you and I to do this we must place TRUST in Jesus Christ and His way. If we are to walk as He is describing, denying our own interests we must TRUST that His way is the better way. If we were trapped in a cave and needed to get out, there would be many thoughts, desires and directions we would have swimming in our head. However, if we had with us a guide who had explored this particular cave many many times, would you override His instructions and do it your way, or would you follow His lead and allow Him to guide your route to safety. You know the funny is this seems like a no brainer to me, but I know people who no matter how much of an expert the guide was, they would do it their own way. They would rather die than to admit that someone else could and should lead them. That attitude is a breeding ground for death. That attitude makes it very hard to deny self and to follow. One thing I have discovered since I have been in the ministry, the only pathway to heaven is that of a follower. If you cannot follow, you will be lost. I don't care what position you are in, if you cannot follow, you will be lost. In the midst of following you may be called to lead; however, you must be able to follow to effectively lead. It is really simple, how can I lead the flock at theway church, if I cannot follow Jesus Christ? This may sound crazy to you, but I purposefully place myself in situations that I follow the lead of another. Why you might ask? Because I never want to be in a position where I cannot follow, I believe this will be the death of my ability to lead. It is really quite simple, there is no better leader than Jesus Christ Our Lord and Our Savior and He requires me to follow Him. Therefore I must follow before I can lead. Just so we understand something, following is not arguing every step of theway. You do not see a great deal of that in the disciples of Jesus. Instead, you see men and women who might night understand their leadership, might even disagree with their leadership at the time, but they trusted their leadership and followed. We have leadership problems in our homes because our husbands are not good followers before they are good leaders. When you try to lead without first following you end up with all parties in a mess. I want Jesus to lead me so I can lead my family and the church He has called me to lead. Tomorrow we will discuss the weight of picking up the cross. Today we will finish with a self examination, are you a good follower? If so why? If not why not? Are you so arrogant that you would rather diffuse the bomb than allow a seasoned leader on the Bomb Squad to lead lead you to safety? Are you attempting to lead others without following Jesus Christ yourself? Do you pick and choose what to follow? Is that really following? Are you able to deny yourself? Do you deny yourself? In what way do you deny yourself? In what ways do you refuse to deny yourself? Why do you deny yourself? You may be thinking why so many questions, but think about for just a second, Jesus is saying that you must be able to deny yourself before you can ever lift your cross. You must be able to follow before you will ever be able to do what Jesus has called you to do. Praise Jesus from whom all Blessings flow.