March 24

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"  Matthew 16:24-26

Back when education was about educating, we used to promote the three "R's" - Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmatic. It is hard to get more basic than that! If you can read well and write well and do the necessary math you will do just fine in life.

When it comes to being a follower of Christ, Jesus calls out His disciples to the three "R's" of discipleship. What are those three "R's"?

  • Rights - lay 'em down
  • Responsibilities - lift them up
  • Relationship - live it out

Your Rights - “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves......."

In an age when people are protesting for their rights and suing for their rights and occupying for their rights, Jesus says, "Give them up to me!" 

This sounds foolish to people who don't understand faith and counter-intuitive for many who think they do. But if you want to follow Christ and know His power and love you must surrender your rights to Him. You must commit to do what He says is right above what you think you want to do - every time!

Your Responsibilities -  "and take up their cross"

Imagine how much better our world would be if people took their responsibilities as seriously as they take their rights.

When Jesus challenges His followers to "take up their cross" He is saying, "Forget about your rights and pick up your responsibilities as a Christ follower!"

Taking up your cross means you choose what honors God and what serves other above what you desire. Surrender to God and serve others!

Your Relationship - "and follow me."

Disciples have two basic responsibilities: to live in a love relationship with Jesus and help encourage others to know that relationship and grow in it.

Relationships require time - quality time getting to know God or God's people. Do you take time to spend with Him in prayer and quiet moments in His Word?

Following Christ requires a desire, a decision, denying and a devotion live in a daily love relationship with Him. Does that describe you?

The good news is you don't have to do any of these things in your own strength. Confess to God that you need help and He will give you His Spirit to help you deny yourself and die to yourself and daily follow. 

Christ, who did these very things during His earthly life, will dwell in your and enable you to follow Him and know His love!

That's CRAZY love!

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