My reading of Matthew 16:24-26, Mark 8:34-36, and Luke 9:23-27, was a refreshing that I didn’t even know I needed this morning.
“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, 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 are yourself lost or destroyed?”
Luke 9:23-25 NLT
Daily dying to self, by rejecting and resisting our flesh and sin, is how we pick up our cross. The cross has represented death to sin, once and for all – we are able to wear the righteousness of God – because of the blood Jesus. He paid the price we would never be able to.
Once Jesus died for us, we were no longer burdened with the impossible; instead we were granted the ability to be children of God. Upon salvation, our goal is to everyday be more like Jesus and less like the world. We can’t do this without the Holy Spirit within us, and we have to recognize it’s not God we’re fighting but our flesh and this world that is ruled by prince of darkness -that is our true enemy.
We have to receive the gift of life and liberty that has been freely given to us & not squander it with the guilt of past sins. When we’ve repented of sins, God has forgiven us and we have to learn to forgive ourselves as well – that means recalling those sins and recognizing what God has already done for us with joy and not conviction.
It’s freeing and beautiful to accept God’s love, mercy and grace – because only then can we live for God and serve Him. When we try to serve by allowing the enemy to beat us down with a past that God has already forgiven and forgotten – we’re no longer playing for God’s team but the enemy’s. It’s impossible to operate in a place of peace when we allow ourselves to live in defeat. Instead we must rise up and live for God by striving everyday to reach the purpose that God created us to fulfill.