Bible Verse: “Then he 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)

Scripture Reading: Luke 9:23-27

In this passage, Luke speaks of denial to self – a removing of personal lordship and giving the deed of our lives to God.

Jesus uses three powerful phrases to describe what it means to be a disciple (follower) of Christ. Deny yourself, Take up Your cross and Lose your life for my sake. Let’s look at the three statements:

Deny yourself: In other words, reject self. This is not about denying things or your feelings. To deny yourself means to deny lordship over your life and give it to Jesus. It means, taking me off the throne of my life and putting Jesus there instead. Jesus calls us to say “no” to ourselves so we can say “yes” to Him.

Take up your cross: This is not speaking about an illness, disability, or a negative experience. This is an image of a criminal forced to carry a cross beam on which he is to be publicly executed. When a criminal carried his cross through the streets he was a dead man. His life had ended. He was forced to abandon all earthly hopes and ambitions. Jesus is calling us, his disciple and followers, to live as though we are already dead. Our brothers and sisters in persecuted nations sitting in prison cells and labour camps can relate to this type of denial. They have had to bury their earthly hopes and dreams. We must bury the plans and agendas we have made for ourselves. Instead, Christ will give us His plans, dreams, and a new heart for Him.

Lose your life for My sake: How do we lose our lives for Jesus? By investing all we are, and have, for Him and His gospel. By saying to Him, “Here is my home, chequebook, talents and gifts. He is my brain, heart, hands, feet, and mouth. It is all yours. Use it to glorify you and further your purpose on earth.”

Jim Elliot, the missionary martyr, famously declared, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” As a disciple of Christ to deny, take, and lose are not a one-time responses. Each day, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and lose our lives for Christ’s sake.

Am I willing to make this kind of commitment with my life to follow Christ?

What am I holding back from becoming a Luke 9 follower of Christ?

— Travis Whims, Director, Discipleship International


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