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Deny Yourself

Matthew 16:24English Standard Version (ESV)

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

take-up-your-cross

When we talk about leadership development and discipleship, we would see that Jesus calls men to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Jesus. It is an invitation to die to ourselves and to live for the cause of Christ.

We could see that following Jesus requires radical commitment. The disciples were tortured, persecuted and killed because of their faith. It is a daily Christian dying in order to live. It is the willingness to leave our dreams, hope and plans for the future and align God’s will for our lives.

When the disciples experienced the radical love and grace of the Lord Jesus – it made them embrace the cause of Jesus and they knew the cost to following Jesus and His cause are their lives.

When I start to read the Bible and try to review my own life – it moves me to repentance not because I haven’t lived up to God’s call but because there are days when I choose my own comfort and not die to myself and follow Jesus. The love and grace of Jesus is required for us to die to ourselves.

DENY HIMSELF

Martin Luther said that the life of a Christian is marked by daily repentance. What that means is that will continue to expose things in our hearts even as he uses imperfect people like us to go and make disciples. Our job is to respond to the prodding of the Spirit when we are convicted of our sin.

To deny one’s self is to say my plans no longer exists. To deny one’s self is to say Jesus – it’s your plan from this day on.

TAKE UP THEIR CROSS

The message of Christianity is a message of suffering. I’m not talking about people who you don’t know responding in hate over a tweet or a blog you made – I’m talking about losing your own image and for some coolness because you have to carry your cross.

The cross today has become a fashion statement but the cross of Jesus Christ is not a fashion statement but a passion statement. The passion of Christ led to His death because of us ( the joy set before Him). He endured the cross, scorning its shame because He was willing to die for a people who rebelled against Him.

A cross-centered life requires sacrifice and suffering. The call for men to act like men is a call of sacrifice. Men, we sacrifice to provide for our family, we sacrifice to make our family a godly family. We sacrifice our time every Sunday to go to church, we sacrifice our hobbies to be with our family.

FOLLOW JESUS

We don’t sacrifice for sacrifice’s sake. We do it because we are followers of Jesus. Disciples are followers of the master. Where God leads us we will follow, where He sends us we will go.

Matthew 7:21-23English Standard Version (ESV)

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

It is  chilling and frightening thought that one day people will enter the judgment day sure of heaven because we were taught that Jesus is our ticket to heaven. To be a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus – not a follower of a certain pastor, church or denomination. JESUS PERIOD.

22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

WORKERS OF LAWLESSNESS

With the resurgence of the teaching of radical grace that says we don’t need to repent of our sins because we have been forgiven and that we don’t need to confess our sins anymore because of what Christ did is what also alarms me. With this inaccurate teaching of the Bible, we have seen people use the line since I am forgiven – I can sin all I want. And they use grace as an excuse to sin rather than to confess and repent of sin.

Jesus is not calling us to a Christianity that is devoid of power. Christianity is for the weak thus the dependence on God to make us Christ-like, thus the call to die to ourselves and follow Jesus because apart from Christ we are nothing.

Titus 2:11-13English Standard Version (ESV)

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

This blog post is part of Victory Philippines’ media movement to encourage its church members to revisit its core values. This week’s topic is leadership. #MyVictoryStory

Here are other blogs from my friends in Victory:

1. Stuff My Dad Told Me by Joe Bonifacio

2. To Lead is to Lean, Learn, Live, and Love by Carla Bonifacio

3. Lead To Leave by Paolo Punzalan

4. Raising Leaders Right In Your Home by Jen Punzalan

5. I Don’t Think So by Jekoy Valle

6. Deny Yourself by Dennis Sy

7. Failures and Beginnings by Sofia Paderes

8. WATERLINE: The marks of Leadership by Perci Paras

9. Influence by Charls de los Reyes

10. He Must Become Greater by Rinnah Ramirez

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