Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- July 1, 2013
Then he [Jesus] said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
Consumer Christianity is about me: what I receive from my experience with God, what I gain in the worship service, what I learn from the Pastor’s sermon, how I will be blessed because I attended church. Consumer Christianity is a receive, not a give mentality. If I am not intentional, I can drift into a totally selfish scenario regarding my expectations in my spiritual life. I place my needs above the needs of everyone else and I leverage my relationship with the Lord for myself.
However, Jesus describes His followers as cross carriers, not consumers. He said the role of His disciple is death to self and life for Him. Christ meets the needs of cross bearers. For example, in the process of pointing others to Jesus our need for significance is met. We worship Him in the glory of His grandeur and experience peace. Cross carrying Christianity means what we learn in Bible study, the Holy Spirit applies to our hearts. His truth transforms us into His likeness.
Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is. Romans 12:1-2
Our churches need to guard against creating a consumer Christianity culture. Relationship with Christ is a covenant. Salvation is free, but discipleship is costly. Our trust in Jesus requires our letting go of our trust in anything else. Our confession and contrition over sin longs to grow in the grace and holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our repentance turns from old selfish thinking and replaces it with new selfless thinking. Cross carrying churches create cross carrying Christians.
Furthermore, our ability to follow Christ is sustained by grace through faith. Grace governs our heart in humility. Faith feeds our mind in hope. We follow hard after Jesus when we have been with Jesus. It is in our intimate moments of prayer that the Holy Spirit gives us the spiritual energy to engage the world with truth and grace. Therefore, be a cross carrying Christian who challenges consumer Christians to engage in discipleship. Self denial frees us to follow Jesus!
Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 1 Peter 2:16
Prayer: Heavenly Father, create in me a cross carrying heart and not a consumer Christian heart.
Related Readings: Leviticus 16:31; Philippians 1:21; Galatians 5:13; Hebrews 9:15
Post/Tweet today: Self denial frees us to follow Jesus. #freedominJesus
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