Written: Oct 9, 2015
The One I follow says: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Paul echoes these words when he wrote: “I am crucified with Christ, and I no longer live but Christ lives in me…”
What is it about mankind that we find when it is hard to do something, we quickly condone it with words or thoughts like: “That’s just the way I am,” or “God loves me anyway,” or “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” or “We are free in Christ,” or “Our God is a god of love, not hate,” or a multitude of other easy-to-speak phrases that allow us to close our minds to the sin nature in each of us.
Personally, I have never found the Christian walk easy. I’ve used many of the above phrases to cover up personal lusts, laziness, and even eating a donut that doesn’t help my waistline. I remember as a young girl, once telling my mother: “I’m tired of being good!” Following the narrow path takes effort, takes conscious purposefulness and an abundance of choices to choose right over wrong.
Ultimately, it comes down to the belief that guides my life: If I believe in Jesus as the only way to God; I believe what He says and seek to follow God’s Word. In making that choice, I also am saying that it is God who makes the rules, not me. If the way I’m living, the choices I make do not line up with what He says in His word and do not follow the example that Christ gave us, then I need to stop it and say no. I must “deny myself” whatever it is — sexual temptation, lusts, gluttony, overspending, watching wrong things on TV, reading the wrong kinds of books, gossip, whatever, in order to live the life that gives glory to God.
To me, that’s the easy way to answer myself when faced with any choice in life: Does it give glory to God?
I had a hard conversation this morning through private a FB message with a friend from long ago who is making choices to live a certain way, though he made a choice to follow Christ almost 15 years ago. Even when we are hurt by those closest to us, because they don’t help us work through our struggles in the right way, the final choice still boils down to this: Am I making this choice because I’m confident that it falls in line with God’s Word and the example of Christ, or am I choosing to do what I want because I can all too easily find an excuse in the world around me to justify what I’m doing?
The Christian life is hard; He never promised us otherwise. May God give us all the strength and grace to walk the narrow path that leads to joy, peace and an eternity with Him.
Grace and Peace