By Colleen Donahue

Jesus opens the invitation to be his disciples to anyone. He says, "If anyone would come after me....." This "anyone" includes you and I. But -- Jesus lays out three qualifications that must be met first. This study will deal with ....


The First Requirement to be a Disciple of Jesus

Studies continued from Matthew 16: 24

Day 1- The three qualifications that need to be met to be a disciples of Christ must have been laid out very clearly because Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record them in the same way and in the same order.
Matthew 16:24 / Mark 8:34 / Luke 9:23

The first requirement is "he must deny himself." SELF is the root of all our troubles. It is why we can't conquer the wrong things in our life. So it's no wonder that Christ's first instruction is to deny ourselves. But, why did God give us a "self" if it causes so much trouble? "Self" was created by God to be the vessel that would house God himself. His object in giving it to us was so we could bring it back to Him as an empty vessel to be filled with His own life. This yielding of our SELF was and still is voluntary.

Day 2- Satan delighted in his "self" apart from God. This caused great pride and therefore separation from God. Satan then tempted Eve to be independent and knowledgeable of good and evil thus breathing into her the very pride and poison of hell. This "cursed self" is what we have inherited and what has brought ruin and destruction upon earth. It is what separates man from God leading to sin, darkness, and misery of all sorts.
Romans 3:23 / Romans 5:12 / 1 John 1:8

Day 3- The "self" life was rendered ineffective or inoperative at the cross (see Romans 6:6) but nevertheless will always be a part of our life. It has no power to do anything unless we let it. The spirit behind our "old self" is Satan. Therefore every time we indulge the old self in some way we give Satan a toehold which soon becomes a foothold. Inch by inch he will try to take us back to living in the flesh and not by the Spirit of God. So what three things does Peter tell us to do?
1 Peter 5:8-9

Day 4- When we don't have self control and we allow our bodies to rule us, what are we likened to?
Proverbs 25:28

Note: A city with broken down walls can be easily attacked and so we become an easy target for satan. Even if we are very disciplined in every area except one or two we still have holes in our armor for the enemy to shoot in his arrows of temptation.

Day 5- Your friends and family may try to comfort you saying, "You can't help it!" But God says differently!
Romans 6:12

Day 6- A return to "self living" instead of godly living begins in the mind.
Isaiah 44:20 / Romans 8:5-6

Day 7- And when we go back to "self living" we are unaware at first of the deterioration that is occurring.
Hosea 7:8-9 / Acts 28:26-27

Day 8- How will you know if "self" is back in charge of your life? You'll know because there will be self-will. A Christian is a person who never seeks his own will but God's alone. But when "self" is in charge we look to please ourselves which leads to compromise with the world. Every time we please "self" we deny Jesus. We push him to the back closet while our interests fill the house.
Titus 2:11-12 / James 4:4 / 1 John 2: 15-16

Day 9- We'll see in ourselves self-confidence, self-trust, self-effort, and self-dependence. For example, why didn't Peter heed Christ's warning that he would deny him? It was self-confidence. Peter was so sure he would NEVER do it!
John 13:37-38

And James and John were the same.
Mark 10: 37-39

Day 10- And so in our blind state, sin once again takes hold in the heart, and we are powerless to do the right thing.
John 9:41 / Romans 7:18-19

Day 11- When this happens what is the first result?
Ephesians 4:18-19

Day 12- Soon after we are alienated from God, we take on a self-righteousness that shows our complete blindness to the fact that our "old self" (spirited by Satan) is now back in charge.
Revelations 3:17

Day 13- We'll see self-exaltation, a desire for human praise, and wanting to please people. Pride, jealousy, and sensitivity to what men think and say of us will fill our hearts.
Matthew 6:1-2

Instead we should be craving to please God and receive honor from Him.
Matthew 6:3-6 / John 5:41

Day 14- When the "old self" is again running our life, what happens?
Ecclesiastes 6:7

Therefore the denial of "self" means much more than just doing without. It means saying "NO" to self and "YES" to God all the days of our life.

What Do We Do to Get Rid of the "Old Self"?

Day 15- Recognize that Christ has already dealt with the "cursed self" which all of us inherited. In a cosmic miracle, He took our old self with him when he died on the cross and stripped it of its power to rule our life.
Romans 6:6

The amplified Bible says it well. "We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with him in order that (our) body (which is the instrument) of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin." Romans 6:6 AMP

Day 16 - Everyday ask Jesus to fill you completely. Only His life replacing your old self can conquer the self life. Jesus is willing and wanting to be the life of our soul. It is in the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ with His divine life comes.
Galatians 2:20 / Ephesians 3: 17-19 / Revelations 3:20

Make the denial of self a daily task by God's grace. How do we do this?

Day 17- It can only be done "by the Holy Spirit."
Romans 8:13

It is HIS power that enables us to say "No" to what is evil, (or second best) and "yes" to God. Without the power of the Holy Spirit we fail over and over.

Day 18-These verses written by Solomon list two of our unruly appetites but it's only by the Holy Spirit's power we are then able to restrain them.
Proverbs 23:2, 20

Often the demands of the body rule our life. What did Paul do to keep this from happening?
1 Corinthians 9: 25-27

Day 19- By the Holy Spirit's power we are also able to subdue fleshly lusts. We do this by first of all standing on the FACT of our crucifixion with Christ and then the FACT that we are no longer slaves to sin.
Romans 6:6 / Colossians 3:3 / 1 Peter 2:24

Day 20- Then, clothed with Christ we make no provision for the flesh.
Romans 13:13-14

To stop making provision for the flesh means that we stop thinking about all the cravings of our physical nature and how we will satisfy it.

Day 21- Next, we choose to live controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:16

Day 22- The fact that we belong to Jesus Christ means that we are no longer free to attend to our own passions and desires.
Galatians 5:24 / 1 Peter 2:12

Day 23 - Finally. by the Holy Spirit's power we choose not to be worried and weighed down by the anxieties of life.
Luke 12:22 / Luke 21:34

Day 24- Before we can see any changes in our lives we have to think right. All sin starts with Satan's thoughts and suggestions. Then we think them over, justify them, and finally act them out. How are we to think?
Romans 6:11 / Colossians 3:1-2

Day 25- When we refuse to be run by the dictates of our bodies what two things result?
1 Peter 4:1-2

Day 26- When we deny our "self" in some way it is like an act of sacrifice to God. How does God see this effort on our part?
Romans 12:1

What is the Result of Denying Self?

Day 27- While you might conclude that you'll be empty and miserable, the opposite actually happens. We have a life empty of "self" so that it can be full of Christ!
Galatians 2:20 / Romans 8:9 / Colossians 2: 9-10

Day 28- Jesus is therefore able to use our physical body to continue his ministry on earth. His life is revealed to others through us.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 / 2 Corinthians 4:11-16 / 2 Corinthians 5:20

Day 29- It is no longer "me" that is directing my life. Jesus is living through me. He is directing me from the inside out. I am like a new person!
Ezekiel 11:19 / 2 Corinthians 5:17 / Ephesians 4:22-24

Day 30- No, we are not puppets! We are so united with Christ that our will wants to do God's will in all circumstances, even if it costs us everything.
Psalm 40:8 / Mark 14: 36

Day 31- And the most blessed result is that Jesus permanently abides (or lives) in me. We live this life together for the glory of God. It's not me having to try hard to live and do what is right. I am righteous because Christ in me is righteous and therefore I do the right things. It's much like an older married couple that have become like each other because of their years together. So I become like Christ without trying and striving.
John 15: 4-7 / 2 Corinthians 5:21 / 1 John 3:24

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