This is the first part of the Kairos talk, A CHRISTIAN: I call it “How to Quit Struggling and Start Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk.” Luke 9:23-24, says, “If anyone would be My disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Just so you’ll know; the word disciple means follower. So if you want to be a follower of Jesus, what do you have to do? Three things: 1] Deny yourself, 2] Take up your cross daily, and 3] Follow Jesus.
Being Jesus’ follower is hard. How hard? How ’bout this? Deny your-SELF. What does that mean? It means STOP DOING WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, and start doing what Jesus wants you to do. Give up all the mean, angry, lying, cheating, stealing, low-class crap we’ve all been doing all our lives. It means to give up defending yourself and putting yourself up on other people and putting them down.
Take up your cross daily. What does this mean? It means to die to your self. It means what it says in 1 Corinthians 13 about how love is patient, kind, never jealous or boastful or proud or rude; doesn’t demand its own way, not irritable or grouchy, hardly even notice when others do you wrong, not rejoice in evil but rejoice in the truth; put up with others and defend them even when they’re wrong. Always trust that Jesus is taking care of you, even when everything is going to hell in a hand-basket. Always expect that God is going to come through even in the darkest hour. Always endure bad things knowing that God will save you. It means to start every day with a fresh commitment to act right and treat other people like you’d like to be treated. Every day!
There’s a verse in the Bible about how anyone who loves their father or their mother or their children more than they love Jesus is not fit to be His disciple. That’s true. But this verse makes it more clear. It’s talking about your SELF. If you’re not willing to DIE TO YOUR (SINFUL) SELF, you are not fit to be Jesus’ disciple. The very next verse in this passage says, “For whoever wants to save his life (his sinful nature), will lose it; but whoever loses his life (his sinful nature) for My sake will find it (His spiritual nature).” This means that if you die to your old self for Jesus sake, you will gain a new eternal life.
Follow Me: What does this mean? It means to surrender yourself to Jesus so much that He comes to live His eternal life in you.
Doing all this may be costly; it certainly will cause a great change in you. As you grow in Jesus, you may be called to give up more and more for Him. Maybe your job, or your home, or your family, or even your life. History is full of people who have given up their lives for the sake of Jesus. Stephen, soon after the crucifixion, was stoned to death for witnessing for Jesus.
But being a follower of Jesus can be the most rewarding thing that will ever happen to you. The things I like best about following Jesus are these: 1] I’ve got peace in my heart. 2] I’m not afraid about what is going to happen to me. I don’t lie awake nights wondering how I’m going to get out of the traps that I get myself into. 3] I don’t have to worry about anything. 4] I don’t have to be mad all the time because people aren’t treating me right. I actually begin to see things from their side sometimes. 5] My kids pay attention to what I say. 6] My wife doesn’t browbeat me anymore because I want to come to prison and talk to y’all about Jesus. Oh and 7] I’m going to live forever starting right now, with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and all the brothers and sisters. You can too.