“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Choosing to follow Christ is a daily decision that requires death to one’s self daily. A daily crucifixion of lusts, selfish desires, ungodly ambition and motives requires an examination of the heart through the Word of God. Only God’s Word can truly transform you – the real you – your spirit.
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:23, human beings comprise of three parts, Spirit, Soul and body. Your Spirit is your inner man, the real you. Only God’s Word can feed your spirit. When God’s Word nourishes your Spirit, your purpose – the very reason why God created you, comes alive.
God’s Truth about who you are and why you were created can only be found through prayer and spending time with God daily. Choosing to pick up your cross means to diligently put off (and crucify) the old man, the old way of doing things, and to put on and embrace Christ’s Way of doing things.
Take a moment to surrender yourself to Him. Let Him breathe upon every part of you. Allow God to rest in the deepest places of your heart. Give him mind, will, emotions and your intellect. When you surrender to Him, you belong to Him. Cast your cares, worries, desires and frustrations and put on His new garment.
Put Off The Old Man. It’s A Daily Decision
“No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.” (Matthew 9:16)
Once you’ve accepted Christ, you cannot turn back to the old way of doing things. Christ is with you and He is for you. He wants to transform every part of you. He wants to dwell in every part of your life. Even in the deepest depths of your heart, He wants to set you free – forever. When Christ breathes upon you, His Presence sweeps out the old and brings in the new. His new way of doing things requires your submission to His Instruction.
He wants to deliver you and lead you out of turmoil, torment and bondage. He wants to liberate you and set you free forever. His freedom, the freedom of God is a choice. You can either accept His freedom, the new garment, or you can choose to stay in the bondage of your past – the old clothes. Choose and cling to Christ – He wants to set you free. Embrace Him and die to your stagnant self. Be renewed by His Word. His Presence is full of Peace, Love and Joy. He wants to set you free. Today, it’s your choice, to choose Christ or continue to live in the hopeless bondage of your past.
As He Passed By
“And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.” (Mark 2:14)
Answer the Call. Answer Christ. It’s time to follow Him. Pick up your cross, put the past behind you and follow God. It’s a deliberate choice to follow Christ or to cling onto your past. When you choose to follow Christ, everyday is a new beginning. When you are in Christ, He washes away the stain of guilt and shame of your past and remembers it no more – “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:12).
Let Christ throughly wash you. Why are you holding on to the past? When you are in Christ you are a new creature all of your old things are passed away; and, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Don’t hold on to the past, let go of the condemnation. As Christ passes by, it’s your choice to answer Him.
When you read the Word of God and allow it to wrestle with your heart, His Word has the piercing opportunity to transform you completely. From the inside out, God wants to reshape how you do things; From how you handle your finances to how you handle your heart – God wants to dwell in you and be with you in every decision. He wants to commune with you. He wants to call you His own.
Nevertheless, Not My Will…The Wrestling of Wills
“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
When you surrender your will, thoughts and desires to Christ, He will transform your way of doing things to align with His Way. When you hold on to the past and stay fixed on your old way, your life becomes stagnant. If you’re stuck and headed down a path that’s leading into a pit and it seems like there’s no way out, maybe you’re holding on to your will a little to tight. Maybe, God is trying to get you to move in His direction and you’re steadily headed down the wrong path.
Maybe, God is trying to get your attention and pull you out of the self inflicted pit. Surrender to Him, by allowing His Will to pull you up and out of that miry pit. Disobedience will cause stagnation. If you’re experiencing any form of stagnation in any area of your life check your prayer life.
Prayer is the key that unlocks and transforms you into who God created you to be.
Prayer is the key that unlocks and transforms you into who God created you to be. The more you pray, the more your will begins to reflect the Will of the Father. When you seek God to reflect His heart and to surrender to His Will, the more your appetite and desires resembles God’s Heart.
It is in prayer, where you and the Father become one. Prayer is a surrendering and submission of one’s will to the Ultimate Authority. When your heart shifts towards God and submits to His desire, He will release His Power and unlock His Promises to you. When you pray, you’re submitting to an Authority and Power that’s greater than yours – God’s.
God’s Sovereign Power and Authority has the final say about your circumstance. When God releases His “Yes” or “No” it trumps the opinion man. God can reorder and shift the circumstance if you allow Him to.
Stop Toiling. Let God Do It
“And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” (Luke 5:5)
When you die daily, you’re shifting from doing things your way and surrendering to God’s Voice. Maybe you’ve toiled in the same place for some time and have not seen the fruit that you’ve desired. When God speaks, at His Command, He’ll release you into a new season – the season He has prepared and destined for you.
Let down your net and allow God to fill you with His Word. When you obey God, He’ll direct you on the right path. Stop toiling and allow God to use you at the perfect time – in His timing. When God releases the Word to release your nets and execute, He will cause you to have success – His success.
You’ll bring forth an abundant harvest when you obey Him. When you toil against Him, you’re setting up false gods upon the throne of your heart. You’re exalting your experiences, ideas, resources, abilities and fears higher than God. Simon was an experienced fisherman, He was skilled and knew the “right” time to fish. Maybe, you’re skilled at many things, maybe you’re talented, maybe you’ve even experienced good success in times past by deploying your nets in the same manner as before – this time is not like the last. It’s time to die to your old way of doing things.
Crucify your learned experiences, expertise, gifts, talents and abilities and exalt God’s Voice and Word higher than your prior experiences. Choose to live by faith and walk to the voice of Christ. Obey His Word and follow Him daily. Will you crucify pride and crush your way in exchange for new oil?
This article was written by Vance Jackson who serves on the leadership team of Word of Life Christian Ministries in Detroit, MI. Vance is a successful businessman, speaker and writer and leads Bible studies on topics ranging from Marriage to Faith, Family, Business, Stewardship, Emotional Healing and Leadership.