Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
Often times the world looks at the people in Christian Churches and wonder why they assemble in these places and for what purpose. Many say they see no visible impact in the world by these people on a daily basis. Are these people simply people who have joined another club or organization? Well many things could be said perhaps to give some semblance of understanding to those on the outside, but I dare say that Christ gives us tremendous word pictures of what a Christian indeed truly is and what he looks like everyday.
1) A Christian is empowered by Jesus Christ everyday over the forces of darkness and to preach His gospel of His death(shedding His blood for sin), burial, and resurrection from the dead(proving that He alone is Almighty God).
2) A Christian is a person who daily lives a life of self-denial. I say this is only accomplished by the grace received from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but also with our cooperating with Him and His grace.
Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
This means many other things daily we would do, but when Christ tells us to do something, we do that. Example, I heard a story of a man who had a difficult time believing that God existed and that Jesus Christ was God, so while driving along in his car he said, “God or Jesus if you are real tell me so right now.” Shortly after saying these words, he looked in his rear view mirror and saw the flashing lights of a police car and said what for I have not done anything. So the officer got out of his patrol car and walked up to the man in the car and said, “Sir I know this might sound strange to you, but Jesus Christ just told me to stop your car and tell you that He is God and that He is real.” The police officer probably thought what he heard spoken to him was foolishness, but he obeyed and accomplished Christ purpose by being obedient and self-denying.
3) A Christian is a person who willingly counts the cost of following Jesus Christ and still answers yes. Paul said, “All who desire to live a godly life for Jesus Christ will (not might) suffer persecution.” Is it a pleasant thing to have people hate you just because of the lifestyle you live? The answer is of course not, but that is what taking up your cross daily means you do it anyway.
1 Corinthians 15:31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. (NKJV)
Jesus Christ the creator, sustainer, and owner of everything in His universes humbled Himself to such a point that He did not even own His own home during His 33 years on earth. Let us who are redeemed never forget who we have become in Jesus Christ and with His abiding love and forgiveness within us endure shame as He did for our sakes. Let us do likewise for all those who will eventually believe because of our witness and testimony to the truth in Jesus Christ our Lord. Christ will come I believe after the last soul has been redeemed and we no not when or who that person will be. Even so come Lord Jesus come...
I leave you with this devotional by Charles H. Spurgeon
“Whom he did predestinate, them he also called.”
In the second epistle to Timothy, first chapter, and ninth verse, are these words-”Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling.” Now, here is a touchstone by which we may try our calling. It is “an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace.” This calling forbids all trust in our own doings, and conducts us to Christ alone for salvation, but it afterwards purges us from dead works to serve the living and true God. As he that hath called you is holy, so must you be holy. If you are living in sin, you are not called, but if you are truly Christ’s, you can say, “Nothing pains me so much as sin; I desire to be rid of it; Lord, help me to be holy.” Is this the panting of thy heart? Is this the tenor of thy life towards God, and his divine will? Again, in Philippians, Phi_3:13, Phi_3:14, we are told of “The high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Is then your calling a high calling? Has it ennobled your heart, and set it upon heavenly things? Has it elevated your hopes, your tastes, your desires? Has it upraised the constant tenor of your life, so that you spend it with God and for God? Another test we find in Heb_3:1-”Partakers of the heavenly calling.” Heavenly calling means a call from heaven. If man alone call thee, thou art uncalled. Is thy calling of God? Is it a call to heaven as well as from heaven? Unless thou art a stranger here, and heaven thy home, thou hast not been called with a heavenly calling; for those who have been so called, declare that they look for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, and they themselves are strangers and pilgrims upon the earth. Is thy calling thus holy, high, heavenly? Then, beloved, thou hast been called of God, for such is the calling wherewith God doth call his people.
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author, Silent Assassins of the Soul, (not yet published; coming soon as Christ wills)