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Deny Yourself

Lent - Monday March 4

Matthew 16:21-28; Luke 9:18-27

Introduction

Jesus was honest with His disciples (and with us) about expectations. He told them upfront that He would be killed and then raised back to life. Jesus was also honest with them about the cost of being a disciple. Finally, He warned His disciples that denying oneself and enduring suffering are both part of following Him. This week’s passage reminds us that the way of Jesus is not always easy and that we should expect difficulties.


Deny Yourself

If I had heard Jesus talking about His death and resurrection, I think I would have said the same thing that Peter did. “No, Lord, this shall not come true to you! How could I let my teacher and friend, whom I lived with for almost three years, suffer shamefully and die?” But Jesus said to Peter, “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”


How, then, can we turn our minds to be more aligned with the concerns of God? Jesus tells us. He says, “Deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me.” From a human point of view, our Lord told us that having a mind seeking God’s will is costly. We need to humble ourselves and leave our pride and the life of this world behind. Many of us already worry about being different from the people around us. Jesus asks us to reject the worldly values we often hold so dear for the sake of following Him and walking within God’s will.


Questions for Reflection:

Think: What do you think Jesus meant when He said you would need to lose your life to save it? What do you think that might look like today?


Pray: As you think about what Jesus tells us is essential to follow Him, pray this prayer from Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”


Respond: This week, spend some quiet time with God and think through your current values, priorities, and actions. What things match up with Jesus’ command to take up your cross and be willing to lose your life? What doesn’t seem to match well? What might need to change for yourself or your family to better live out Jesus’ words? It might be helpful to do this exercise with a family member, friend, or mentor to get an outside perspective.


With thanks to B4Church

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