Week 3 – Day 15
Reading for week 3 is the second half of the Gospel of Mark.
This week we want to dig deeper to make these readings more and more personal. It is easy to just do Bible Study and to not see how the Scripture we are studying needs to impact us personally. So, as we read through the passages for each day, we will continue to put ourselves into the passage and we will also ask ourselves a number of personal questions. I will add the questions below but you can add other ones as they come to your heart through your time in the Word.
Here are a few to consider:
Is there a sin to confess?
Is there a promise to claim?
Is there an attitude to change?
Is there a command to obey?
Is there an example to follow?
Is there a prayer to pray?
Is there an error to avoid?
Is there a truth to believe?
Is there something to praise God for?
Mark 8:34-38 NKJV
When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them,“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
The call of discipleship is not an easy one. It can be simple to say a prayer and believe that you are a Christian, but to become a follower of Christ requires a life of surrender and obedience. I have for most of my Christian journey wrestled with this passage. My flesh would want to look at nominal christianity and tell myself that I am trying too hard, to relax a bit, God really is not expecting me to give it all. Yet, when I look at the requirements Jesus himself laid out, I must stop and decide which path I am going to choose.
For me, three things jump out here. Deny, lose, ashamed. Then I have to ask myself questions based upon these three words. Do I deny myself to follow him? Have I been willing to lose my life for His sake? Have I been ashamed of Him and His Words?
There is no question in my mind that there is a command to be obeyed here. This command is not to be ignored, but to be applied to everyone who wants to be a follower of Christ. I, Freda, want to follow him. So, for me, this Scripture requires that I be willing to deny myself. As I deny, I have a cross to pick up. That does not sound exciting to this flesh, but I know that it is the only way to truly know life. It is also the only way to avoid error in my life.
If I want safety it will only come through giving my life away. It is part of the cost of following. This means my life isn’t mine, I gave it away. This is truth and it needs to be believed in my life. However, the only way I can show that I believe something is by living it.
So, what could this look like for me? Denying myself would be putting others first. It could be not letting my flesh decide when to pray or read. It could be skipping a meal to seek God. It might be keeping my mouth silent and not speaking in my own defence. Denying myself could look like many things, but the most important is that it is doing what He would do.
Then for losing my life. I have to come to a place where I don’t hold on to things that are passing, that I don’t give my will and my agenda priority over what is right and over what He wants. I am willing to let go and trust him.
For being ashamed, I believe when I do not deny and lose myself, I will be ashamed, but when I appropriate the first two realities in my life, I will not be ashamed of who He is in my life.
He is my example to follow.
Looking forward to your feedback and to see what God spoke to you through this passage.