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If You are My Disciple- You will Deny Self, Pick up Your Cross and Follow Me

Wildflower garden on our path this morning--Planted and arranged by God

Wildflower garden on our path this morning–Planted and arranged by God

The winner’s from last week’s apron drawing: Christi  8/29 at 3:09PM and Rebecca  8/28 at 2:16 PM.

Thank you for praying for Jonathan. He is doing wonderfully well! It is a slow recovery but he couldn’t be doing better. You have no idea what peace I had knowing YOU were praying!!

A good word from David Wilkerson:

Never once does our Lord say, Stoop down and let me lay a cross on you.” Jesus is not in the drafting business; his army is all volunteer. Not all Christians carry crosses. You can be a believer without carrying a cross, but you cannot be a disciple.

I see many believers rejecting the way of the cross. They have opted for the good life with its prosperity, its material gain, its popularity and success. I’m sure that many of them will make it to heaven—they will have saved their skins—but they will not have learned Christ. Having rejected the suffering and sorrow of the cross, they will not have the capacity to know and enjoy Him in eternity, as will the cross-bearing saints who have entered into the fellowship of suffering.

You will have to carry your cross until you learn to deny. Deny what? The one thing that constantly hinders God’s work in our lives—self. Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). We are misinterpreting this message if we emphasize self-denial, that is the rejection of material or unlawful things. Jesus was not calling upon us to learn self-discipline before we take up our cross. It is far more severe than that. Jesus is asking that we deny ourselves. This means to deny your own ability to carry any cross in your own strength. In other words, “Don’t take up your cross until you are ready to reject any and every thought of becoming a holy disciple as a result of your own effort.”

Millions of professing Christians boast of their self-denial. They don’t drink, smoke, curse or fornicate—they are examples of tremendous self-disciple. But not in a hundred years would they admit it was accomplished by anything other than their own willpower. They are practicing self -denial, but they have never denied self. In some ways, we are all like that. We experience “spurts” of holiness, accompanied by feelings of purity. Good works usually produce good feelings, but God will not allow us to think our good works and clean habits can save us. That is why we need the cross.

I believe Jesus is actually saying to us, “Before you take up your cross, be ready to face a moment of truth. Be ready to experience a crisis by which you will learn to deny your self-will, your self-righteousness, your self-sufficiency, your self-authority. You can rise up and follow Me as a true disciple only when you admit you can do nothing in your own strength—you cannot overcome sin through your own willpower—your temptations cannot be overcome by your self-efforts alone—you cannot work things out by your own intellect.

Your love for Jesus can put you on your knees but your cross will put you on your face.

 

David Wilkerson was the founder of World Challenge,  best known for his early days in ministry to drug addicts and gang members in New York City. Best selling book and movie  about his life is called The Cross and the Switchblade.

Comments

  1. I loved today’s blog, Sharon. Thank you for sharing the truth of Luke 9:23 as written my David Wikerson! It does cost to follow our Savior.
    Your statement – Your love for Jesus can put you on your knees but your cross will put you on your face – priceless truth! Looking forward to having you at our retreat next month!

  2. Thank you Donna! I’m so looking forward to our retreat!!Hugs!

  3. wanita says:

    Thank you Sharon for the update on Jonathon. Happy dancing and praising God, to hear he is doing so well!
    Thank you for sharing this great message from David Wilkerson. Many years ago, when I first came to the Lord, I read the Cross and the Switchblade. It was instrumental in helping me on my path of following Him.
    I loved your final comment on how our love for Jesus can put us on our knees, but the cross will put us on our face.

  4. Rhonda de la Morinere says:

    Thank-you for this, I am really struggling with my health and see how Jesus is teaching me so much about letting go and truly what it means to follow Him, and completely surrender to whatever His will is, even our own lives. My moments of greatest weakness and uncertainty have been also my moments of greatest clarity and fearlessness. I have become so aware of just how little I have believed Him, which has resulted in my trying to control so many aspects of my life. It has taken me losing control of my own body to truly SEE just how much I had been holding on to, just much I had not been trusting God. I feel like I am only beginning to scratch the surface of what carrying my cross actually even means. It is not about purpose or ministry, as much as it is about literally just trusting your life to Jesus and truly placing each moment in His hands, and not predicting the outcomes, as much as just trusting His heart, no matter the outcomes. He truly IS working all things for good. Many people want me to be healed right away, but I see so much of a greater healing in my heart and spirit going on and I love how He is using weakness to truly make me strong. Either I will get well and hopefully can still be trusted to believe Him this way, even with a stronger body, or I will get to soon go home to be with Him. Either way, I get a happy ever after!

    • Wow Rhonda! Thank you for sharing! What is the health condition that you are battling? I have prayed for you for months and will continue. I love you!

  5. Hi Sharon,

    I was just at the North Dakota conference, and wanted to thank you again for being used in such a powerful way regarding my walk with the Lord….you poured water on my dying roots..:) Anyway, I want to tell you in addition to the rock and the sword, you had the fire in your eyes like that of Jeremiah. That was what I was trying to tell you at the conference when we spoke, but the words escaped me.

    I can’t wait to keep up with how the Lord continues to work in you life as I follow your blog!!! So amazing I just can’t contain it.

    God bless you,
    Malinda

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