How do I Follow Jesus?


Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:24, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” Going after Jesus our own way is vanity. Two things must take place if we want to properly go after Him:

  1. We must deny ourselves: The word “Deny” means, “Lose sight of one’s self and interest.” Following Jesus requires that you and I get to the conclusion where we recognize that outside of Jesus we are nothing. He does not want a little of us left, He wants all of us to get out of the way. We must get to the conclusion that in order to follow Jesus, we must deny our will, our desires, our emotions and our feelings. We must conclude that “self” is worthless. Following Jesus without denying “self” is against Scripture.
  2. We must take up our cross: The flesh fights against the Spirit of God in us (Galatians 5:17) and against our own souls (1 Peter 2:11). The only way to achieve victory over the desires of the flesh is by walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). The flesh has no hope of ever being converted, refined or reformed. The flesh will always be in a war against the holiness of God. That cross is for us to nail the desires of the flesh every day. Luke explained in a more aggressive way as he tells us in Luke 14:27, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” Without the willingness to carry our cross, Jesus can’t receive us as His disciples.

 

            We can’t properly follow Jesus if we refuse to deny ourselves and if we refuse to carry the pain of the cross. There is no other way; we must go the way of the cross. Do you know what is wrong with the church today? Do you want to know why we are so divided? We blame racism, differences in doctrines, cultures, social classes, etc. All of that is the end-result of one thing and one thing only; you want to know the answer to these questions? Do me a favor, let’s go right now and look at ourselves in the mirror… Yeah, that’s right!  We are the problem! However, once we make up our minds to deny “self” and carry our individual crosses we will be in right order to biblically follow Christ. It is then that, as we surrender to God’s Word, we find ourselves changing, dying to self and being more and more like Jesus as we become less and less like ourselves!

6 thoughts on “How do I Follow Jesus?

  1. These are words for us today. Are we willing to put relationship with Jesus ahead of all other relationships? Are we willing to die to our own self-interest, let our own opinions and “rights” go in favor of the Lord’s? Are we willing to let our old life in this world die in order to let our Lord express His life through us in the earth? Don’t be too quick to say, “Yes.” Count the cost.

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    1. That is why dnying ourselves is an impossible thing unless we surrender to the Holy Spirit. We can’t deny ourselves in the flesh; flesh can’t beat flesh. But we do have to have a willing heart, a recognition that is the way to go. It takes the end of the road for many to say “Ok Lord, I did it my way and it did not work, I surrender to you.” The cost? It will be more costly at the end to do things our way. Is just that the process of dying is not fun; however Jesus promise us life abundantly. The flesh will never give up in this dimension of life, but our soul will experience a joy and a peace that flesh can never give her. May the Lord kill us all and may the character of Jesus be formed in our hearts.

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      1. Self-denial is a tricky practice, Angel. And Christian leaders haven’t always done a good job of teaching it. It can be hard, after all, to wrap our brains around the idea that self-denial doesn’t mean giving up who we are at our core, the self that God created us to be. Rather, Jesus’ words here call us to recognize and release whatever hinders us from full relationship with God and one another. Self-denial challenges us to know the stumbling blocks within our own selves. It beckons us to open ourselves to the one who is the source and creator of our deepest self. And self-denial compels us to ask ourselves, “What are the actions, what is the way of being, that will leave the greatest amount of room for God’s love, grace, and compassion to move in and through me?”

        The answer to that question won’t be the same for everyone, and that’s another thing that has made self-denial so tricky in the church. A single form of self-denial won’t fit for all, and one of the greatest ways we can harm ourselves and others is to follow a path that’s not meant for us.

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  2. oh angel, have u been in my back pocket and picking my brain lately? i am trying to let go of some past hurts but the wounds are deep and they were placed by someone that should never have had the ability to hurt that deep – and the worst of it is that they continue to pour salt in the wounds instead of salve to heal and forgive – i am finding it hard to come up with the fruits of the Spirit to let go and count it all as hard lessons then moving on – being a Christian is not just following the “do’s and dont’s” but is so much much more – will we ever get to the point where the first reaction we have is what Jesus would do or are we destined until our transformation in eternity to continue to war with self over EVERYTHING? pray for me brother, pray for me – God loves me and will chastise me until i let this go – i welcome the chastising because i know it is because He loves me and will never let me go but i really just want to easily do His will and not mine!!!

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    1. Hey Jody; What I love about your e-mail is the sincerity of your words. You are not trying to fake the pain you feel. I am also able to see that you know that you MUST forgive; that speaks to me about a heart that recognizes the voice of our Heavenly Dad. Jody, our flesh is fighting against the Spirit of God in the inside of us, but also our soul. I believe that when Paul declared that “he does the evil that he do not want to do” I am convinced that his soul, just like yours and mine desire to do God’s will, but the struggle is brutal. Yes, I believe that we will be in this brutal transformation process at least in this dimension of life; our goal is to be like Jesus; so we have a long way to go! However, how much are we willing to surrender? That is the question! I recently concluded that trying accomplishes nothing, because we still operates in self; but as we learn “The Art of Getting out of the Way” much is accomlish because is no longer you and me, but Christ in us. Remmeber that forgiveness is not a feeling; just like love is not a feeling; it is a decision inspite of how we feel. I say, you are in the right track my sister!

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