Cotidie – Resolve to Deny
Cotidie = Daily in Latin
PART TWO OF SIX
The passage for this week, Luke 9:23-26, is sometimes called the Cost of Discipleship, “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
I have mentioned it before, but Luke 9:23 is my very favorite verse in the whole Bible. I feel there is so much substance here and that the verse gives us a foundation for being a follower of Christ.
There is a whole lot going on in the book of Luke 9: Jesus gave power and authority to the Apostles and sent them out, Jesus feeds the 5,000, Peter confesses Jesus as Christ, and Jesus foretells His death.
Then we get to Luke 9:23, “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Notice Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me” first. I am going to skip over this portion now but will come back. The first part we will examine is, “Let him deny himself.” And this brings us to the first resolution of the week; We should resolve to deny personal control of our life and give control to Jesus.
I want you to imagine this…..It is 1945 in Berlin. The Allied Forces have stormed the city. They surround a building with a key Nazi official inside. They demand that he comes out with both hands up and surrender himself. He comes out with one hand behind his back. This is not going to work. Most likely he will be killed for such an action.
But isn’t this what we do to Jesus all the time? Jesus, I give you control of my life……but…….I am going to just keep this thing or two or three for myself. This does not work either.
I remember my friend and our church music minister Rob Kerr (you can find him here: hitchedhikers.net ) making this point a while back and it stuck with me…..We look at the lyrics to the classic hymn, I Surrender All. I surrender all, I surrender all, all to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all. The lyrics weren’t Some to thee, my blessed Savior, right? We must give full and total control.
To deny yourself might mean different things to different people. It might mean to set aside relationships. It might mean to take care of yourself better physically, to stop drinking or smoking or eating fast food. I do not know exactly what this means to you, but you do!
But this call is much more radical than a simple denial of certain things. It is seeking to fulfill God’s will for your life. It is a daily refusal of the system this world has established. It is to see things from a Kingdom perspective, for you are not of this world. It is a reorganization of your life with self no longer at the center. The disciple must learn to say, as Jesus did, in John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and accomplish his work.”
If we look at verses 24 and 25, they tie in here, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” What Jesus was saying is whoever lives a self-centered life focused on the present world will not find eternal life with God. Whoever loses his life, or gives up his self-centered life of rebellion against God, will save it by giving it up for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. He or she will find everlasting communion with God.
We must understand that gaining the whole world can not compare to being rightly related to God eternally.
Just for today, resolve to deny personal control of our life and give control to Jesus.
Tune in tomorrow for Part Three…