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Deny yourself.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I spent some time this morning reading in Mark 8.  Verses 31 through 38 really jumped out at me.  I have to think that Peter meant well when he took Jesus to the side and began to rebuke Him.  And yet, what was Peter thinking to rebuke the Son of God?  Jesus' words to Peter were extremely strong "Get behind me, Satan!" he said.  "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

At that point Jesus calls everyone together and explains that "following" Him requires denying yourself from the things that you want - it requires you to be willing to lose your own life.  

One of the most important keys to successful bible study is personal application.  Too often, we read scripture only thinking of how this stuff applies to everyone else we know!  So, as I read this passage today - I had to ask some huge questions;
  • Do I have in mind the things of God?  If so, what are they?
  • Am I thinking only of myself?  
  • How am I denying myself to follow Jesus?
  • Have I given Him my life today?
When you first read this passage there is a tendency to wonder why in the world Jesus would be so hard on Peter.  I mean really - did He have to call Peter - "Satan."  And yet, maybe the point is our lack of "following" Jesus is a leaning toward following Satan.  Man - that hurts.

We can't straddle the fence.  "Following" Jesus - taking up our cross - denying ourselves - laying down our lives for Christ - is all part of gaining everything in Him.  

My prayer today is that our church would be full of people passionately living for and following Jesus.  Which means, our church is full of people who die to themselves first.  I've got more to give up for Him - how about you?  Deny yourself.  Die to yourself.