Why Picking Up Your Cross Will Make You Say No to Things You Want

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Daily Reading: 2 Kings 7-8 GW; Mark 8 GW

God wants all of you.

Following Jesus will cause you to make difficult choices.  God asks us to do things that go against our human nature—forgiving instead of exacting revenge—loving instead of hating—putting our life on the line for another. None of these are easy to do.

Sometimes following Jesus might seem too challenging.  Even the disciples faltered the night of Jesus’s arrest; they all deserted Him.  When the Sanhedrin arrested Jesus, His followers felt their lives were in danger, so they left.  Peter denied Jesus three times that night because he feared for his life.  

We all battle the flesh, even those who knew Jesus best.

Grace is Jesus’s calling card.  When Peter denied Jesus, God forgave him.  Jesus’s actions on the cross paid the price for our sinful nature.  Each day, as we fight the battle of the flesh, we try again.  

Life is a journey.  God knows we struggle with saying no to those things that cause us harm: unrepentance, unforgiveness, pride, selfishness.  The list is endless.  God wants us to say no so we can experience the freedom found in following Christ.

Respond with intention.

Saying “No” becomes easier if you know why you deny yourself.  When you want to lose weight, you say no to food because that’s the path to fewer calories.  Saving money means saying no to every whim.  Knowing the why helps you respond with the right intention.

Jesus’s intention is for us to follow Him.

The mission Jesus gives us takes a lifetime to fulfill: loving God, loving people (Mark 12:30-31 GW).  To complete our task, we must learn to say no to our desires.  Others first living doesn’t come naturally, but we can do it, one “no” at a time.

Jesus went first.  He picked up His cross for you.  Today, pick up your cross for Jesus.  Say no to the flesh, and yes to His Spirit within you.

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Lord, as always, thank You for going first.  Your example gives us something to strive for today.  Forgive us for saying yes to our desires which stop us from loving You and others.  Help us today become known for our love as we pick up our crosses and follow You.  IJNIP. Amen

Question for reflection

What do you need to say no to today?

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