BIBLE READING: MATTHEW 16:24-25
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God]—he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me] cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26-27(AMP)
In our previous devotional we discussed Losing and Suffering as key costs of discipleship. Today, our focus is on the other two requirements and appointments of a disciple, namely, Sacrificing and Dying for the sake of the King and His Kingdom:
SACRIFICING: God expects me to be willing to sacrifice because of my relationship with Him. To sacrifice means to offer up something to God in worship; to permit injury or disadvantage for the sake of something else regardless of the fact that you make no profit – Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a LIVING SACRIFICE, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent act of worship. Romans 12:1(AMP).
Consequently, Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV) admonishes us; Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. The gospel of the Lord Jesus must cost you something. If it costs you nothing then it will profit you nothing. The Cross remains a place of Sacrifice where Jesus willingly gave up His rights and His body for the redemption of mankind.
DYING: Since I have come into relationship with Christ, my appointment with death is inevitable, even daily, God expects me to die to self. As Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:31(AMP) said, “I assure you, believers, by the pride which I have in you in [your union with] Christ Jesus our Lord, I DIE DAILY [I face death and DIE TO SELF].
To die means to cease to exist or function, lose strength, fade away, move from one realm of existence to another. “I have been CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20(AMP).
Jesus experienced Loss, Suffering, Sacrifice and Death and prescribed them to all who would be His disciples without any exception. He endured all these because of the Glory that He anticipated that He would receive upon His resurrection.- Hebrews 12:2, Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The entrance of the Word brings light! Now that you understand and appreciate the appointments you are currently experiencing, rejoice and endure hardship like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
Lord, thank You for further insight on the spiritual process of becoming a true disciple. I repent of my sins of not sacrificing or dying daily as You require of me. I ask that you give me the grace to yield to the personal dealings of the Holy Spirit so that I can mature and be a true representative of Jesus on earth.
•Pray for those who have sacrificed their comforts at the mission fields to preach the Gospel and disciple nations.
•Pray that their labour and death will release the power of God and the Spirit of conviction on the lost and bring them into God’s kingdom.