Are you "accepting Jesus" or are you "denying yourself, taking up your cross, and following Him daily"?
Many believe that 'accepting Jesus' means that we are allowing Jesus into our lives, so that He may tag along to bless us as we do whatever it is that we determine to do. Much preaching and teaching today seeks to assure the Christian that God's goal is their comfort. In the chapter on suffering in his book on apologetics, On Guard, William Lane Craig delivers this warning:
The "health and wealth" gospel and the gospel of positive thinking that are being proclaimed in various megachurches and denominations are false gospels that are setting people up for a fall. That kind of gospel won't preach in Darfur or in Iraq or in a thousand other places. And if it won't preach there, it isn't the true gospelOur hope lies not in worldly happiness but in that day when God will wipe away every tear. (On Guard, William Lane Craig, p. 163, David C. Cook 2010)
Human nature tends to express itself in selfishness. We want what we want, when we want it. Many times we make decisions based primarily on the hope that those decisions will make life easier for us.
The Christian, however, is called to die to self. Self should not be the center of the Christian's universe. Our health and happiness should take a back seat to the will and purpose of God. In his biography of the Apostle Paul, Charles Swindoll goes to great lengths to make clear that God does not exist to pander to our whims. He concludes by saying:
Life is not about your being comfortable and happy and successful and pain free. It is about becoming the man or woman God has called you be. Unfortunately, we will rarely hear that message proclaimed today. All the more reason for me to say it again: Life is not about you! It's about God. (Paul, Charles R. Swindoll, p. 103, Thomas Nelson 2002)
Jesus told His disciples that they could not follow Him in a noncommittal way. He told them that they must die to their own wills and wants as they sought to obey His will completely.
Jesus said: "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me." (Matthew 10:38 NASB)
The Christian is to live the same way today.
Seeking to introduce people to Jesus Christ and to help them become "transformed by the renewing of their mind."
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