Love yourself. Know yourself. Believe in yourself.
As a Christian, I’ve known this Bible verse for as long as I can remember:
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.'” (Matthew 16:24)
Lately, this has been on my mind a great deal. Life has presented me with an unexpected set of circumstances. (Funny how life has a way of doing that.) I have been feeling like I’ve been given a horrible choice: do what is right for me or do what is right.
Our society teaches that you have to follow your heart.
I don’t think that’s all-together bad advice. I do think it’s important to keep your brain in the loop when making decisions, but there’s a lot to be said for intuition.
But as Christians, we are told to leave everything else and follow Christ. Even self.
That’s what I feel is being asked of me. I can feel the gentle pull of Spirit. “Follow…”
“But it’s hard,” I have answered.
“But this is what I’ve always wanted!”
That pull has been relentless.
Then, a few days ago, I read that verse again.
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
But what if you look at it like this?
“… he must deny SELF, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
Instantly this little proverb, which has always intrigued and baffled me a bit, came to mind.
What would happen if I stopped thinking about “I” and trusted that God, as a Good Father, would provide perfectly for me? Far better, in fact, than I could for myself.
What would happen if I stopped dwelling on “want,” and just settled into the perfect contentment of being thankful for my daily bread?
Could it be that “what I’ve always wanted” is less than what God wants for me?
Could it be that what I have now is not meant to be clung to, but used as a stepping stone?
Jesus said I should, “deny self.”
He also said I should, “take up my cross.” That sounds thoroughly unpleasant. But look what world-changing difference happened when Jesus, himself, did just that!
And, Jesus said, “Fear not. For I am with you.”
I believe he knew what he was talking about. (I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.)
I think it’s time for me to stop hesitating and follow.
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!
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