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Monday, March 21, 2016

God Is Never Forceful, It’s My Choice

In review of Matthew 16:24-27 it says, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.

Today's passage comes from the last part of Matthew chapter 16 in which Jesus predicts His death. The passage illustrate how Jesus told his disciples that it would be necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the religious leaders. While there He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.

In unbelief, Peter took Jesus aside saying that this will never happen. Jesus reminded Peter that he was seeing things merely from a human point of view and not from God's.

Jesus then went on to explain to his disciples that if anyone wants to be his follower, they must give up their own way, take up their cross, and follow him. Ultimately you will only lose your life if you try to hang onto it. However if I was to give up my life for his sake, I would end up saving it. Besides what benefit will it be to me to gain the whole world, but lose my soul just to have it.

In addition, there are several very important things to notice within these passages. First is to consider Jesus choice of words in saying, “If any of you wants to be my follower ...” God desires, more than anything else, that I will truly choose to follow Him.

But what does it mean to “take up my cross, and follow”? I believe He is asking me to die to myself. Turn from the things in my life that take His place. It could be that I find security in my income, and when my money gets low, so does my spirit. That would be a clear sign that I trust in money more than I trust in God’s willingness and ability to provide for my every need.

Perhaps throughout the day I’m able to find a few minutes here and there to review and possibly post messages on social media, yet at the end of the day, I still have not opened God’s Word. This, too, could indicate an area of life where I’m are looking for joy in the things of this world instead of seeking true joy in relationship with my Heavenly Father.

So, If I’m valuing my finances, social life, or entertainment as more important than my relationship with God, then I’m limiting God’s blessings and, ultimately, rejecting the peace and joy that come from willingly and completely following Him.

Today, I will consider what, if any, ways God is calling me to die to myself and turn to Him?

This morning Father, I thank You for the free will to choose my path for myself. Though I choose to surrender my will to You, I am grateful for the freedom to make that decision. I honor You by looking to Your will, Lord, to lead my steps and guide my heart in all that I do. You have chosen me, and I am Yours. In Jesus’ name.

Bottom Line:
Don’t try to hang onto the things of this world, rather give your life to Him to save it. This life on earth is not worth the rewards within it.

What this means to me:

More than anything else, that I will truly choose to focus my life on and follow Him. I will need to die to myself and turn from the things in my life that take His place.