DAILY DISCIPLINE #152
By Colleen Donahue
We've been looking at the Lord's requirements for being his disciple. The first requirement we looked at was what it means to deny our "self". Our "self" refers to what Romans 6:6 refers to as our "old self". This first requirement is the foundation to the second one which we'll look at in this study.
The Second Requirement to be a Disciple of Jesus
Studies continued from Matthew 16: 24
Day 1- The first requirement is that we are to deny our "self". Now, the second requirement is that we must take up OUR cross. Luke adds one word to this requirement that is not used by Matthew or Mark.
Matthew 16:24 / Mark 9:34 / Luke 9:23
Dealing with our natural inclinations is not a once and for all matter. Cross bearing is continuous -- it's daily.
Day 2- To "take up" is a voluntary action. We willingly receive something to ourselves. It means we are being given something that is going to require us to act and to accept responsibility. It may be an evil or distasteful thing thrust upon us but at the back of it is God who has allowed it (not caused it) usually through other people. What God allows will always be for our good if we accept it from his hand. Jesus has given us the example of himself in how to take up the cross. Notice the difference between these verses.
Matthew 26: 39, 42
Day 3- Then notice the word "his" in "take up his cross". (Some translations say 'Take up your cross'.) We are not being told to take up Christ's cross. (That we could never do. He was the only one that could take on himself the sins of the whole world.) You are I have our own personal cross or crosses to bear. They are not caused by God but they have been allowed by Him for our good as we saw in day 2 above. Even in carrying our cross, God is with us.
Isaiah 43:2 / Romans 8:28 / 2 Corinthians 4:17
Day 4- We are not to make our own crosses but only to pick up and carry the ones that are prepared for us. Our cross may be a wayward son, or a chronic medical problem. Our personal cross can look quite different from someone else. The Apostle Paul had an affliction (cross) which he asked the Lord to remove. How did God answer him and how did Paul respond?
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Day 5- The cross was a well known figure of suffering and death. The problems, inconveniences, and sufferings in your life are your cross. When you bear these willingly for God then you take on the same attitude that Christ took. Notice that in prayer at Gethsemane when Christ finally came to know God's will in his spirit he did not delay in going towards it.
Matthew 26:45-46 / Luke 9: 51
Day 6- Jesus is summoning us to commit our natural life to the cross so that he can fill it with his supernatural life. We must choose the Lord first over every affection of the soul which includes ones own family.
Matthew 10: 37-39
Day 7- Luke tells us that we must actually hate the love that arises from our soul life. God does want us to love others but not with our natural soulish love. He doesn't want our heart attached anywhere so we can serve him faithfully.
Luke 14: 26-27
Day 8- Matthew emphasizes that when the concern for "self" is supreme we are unfit to accept God's orders and fulfill his will.
Matthew 16: 24-25
Day 9- We must choose to deny "self" in regards to the things of this world. We can actually forsake the things of this world but inwardly hold onto them. We are to let go and not look back!
Luke 17: 30-33
Day 10- There is no other way that we can bear fruit for God except through death and this is the second requirement if you want to be Christ's disciple.
John 12: 24-25
Day 11- Christ's disciples don't measure their life by "gain" but by "loss".
Matthew 19: 21, 29 / Mark 8: 35 / Mark 9:35 / Philippians 3:8
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