26 Apr The Gospel and My Life Today
Luke 9:23 says, “If any man will come after ME, let him deny himself, take up his cross, daily, and follow ME.” This is a verse that I have memorized, contemplated, and at times even lived by. It is my sincere desire to follow HIM, but like Paul I must confess that the very things I want to do, I do not do; and the things I do not want to do, I do. The GOSPEL is my only hope to live my life more in step with what JESUS asked.
The GOSPEL makes it clear that the only way I can come after HIM is as HE draws me to HIMSELF. It was never me pursuing HIM rather it has always been HIM reaching out to me. HE came for me, when I was an enemy and wanted nothing to do with HIM and HE continues to call me to relationship day by day with HIM. As I strive to yield my life to HIM and follow where HE leads, I discover that it is only when I allow HIM to rule my mind and heart that this can take place. When I listen to my old nature and live in broken religion, I discover that even my best efforts are ineffectual and ultimately lead only to corruption.
I have also discovered that apart from the GOSPEL, it is impossible for me to deny myself. I am far too self-centered and without HIS direct intervention in my life I would never give up all the creature comforts that I have come to crave. The HOLY SPIRIT gently prods and encourages me to remember JESUS and all that HE taught as I live each day. THE SPIRIT brings to mind verses and truth that I can rely on to put aside these sins that so easily ensnare me and focus my energy and efforts on HIM.
The GOSPEL has served to convince me that walking with HIM is a daily experience. The GOSPEL calls me to confess and repent continually, moment by moment throughout each day, not just on Sundays. From my experiences, it is so easy to compartmentalize my life and to have my Sunday game as well as my Monday through Saturday game. As JESUS clearly states in this verse from Luke, my Christian walk is a daily activity not something I do once a week.
JESUS is my only hope. I can only come to HIM because HE first pursued me, I can only deny myself as HE empowers me to do so. It is only HIS presence in my life day by day that allows me to follow HIM where HE leads.