Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Dear Colleagues,


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"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. (Lk. 9:23, 24)

In this passage Jesus is calling us to relinquish our lives for his; to lay down our lives to take up his cross. He then makes an astounding promise and warning: If you hand over your life to him, he will save it. But if you grasp it to yourself, you will lose it.

Jesus call to self-renunciation in order to follow him goes down hard for the simple reason that self is securely established at the center of most of our lives. Jesus uncompromising call on our lives is  simply too radical for most of us to accept, much less comprehend. The reason? Because in the natural it looks like a suicide mission. Our suicide. And that is exactly what it is. Look at the different ways the translators put Luke 9:23. The woduld be disciple must:

– Disown himself. (Amp)

– Lose sight of himself and his own interests. (Wuest)

– Give up all right to himself. (Phillips)

– Understand that he is not in the drivers seat. Christ is. (Msg)

Here again is Christ on the subject:  Solemnly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.  (Jn. 12:24 Amp.) Here Christ is saying that he, a kernel of wheat must die on the cross to provide a rich harvest of redeemed lives. He then turns his attention to the twelve whom he expects to follow in his footsteps: Anyone who loves his life loses it, but anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. [Whoever has no love for, no concern for, no regard for his life here on earth, but despises it, preserves his life forever and ever.]  If anyone serves Me, he must continue to follow Me [to cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying] and wherever I am, there will My servant be also (Jn. 12:25, 26 Amp.)

In my 20s God pinpointed my insufferable self-centered pride and instructed me that unless I, and the pride that had engulfed me was crucified, I had no future in terms of usability for His Kingdom. An inner battle royal raged until Gods loving but firm discipline overruled. The truth of Hebrews 12:11 became my reality: No discipline is enjoyable while it is happeningits painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. (NLT) (See Isa. 32:17)

(Part #2 of this Facts will continue next week)

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