A Devotion for the second week of Lent
Am I “ALL IN” ? (Thoughts on Going with Jesus)
If we’re going to “Go With Jesus” this Lenten season, we need to start by looking to Scripture to see what it means. Matthew 16:24 is one place we get Jesus’ words on going with Him.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me…”
First, He says we must deny ourselves. He asks us to set aside selfish interest. But how much? Our United Methodist vows say we’ll support our church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. I strive to be obedient to these vows, but I admit that I also would like to have parts of my life that are “my own”. I am sure Jesus isn’t asking for a certain percentage of my time and a certain percentage of my activity —– He wants all of me, 100 percent —- complete surrender of my selfish interests. C. S. Lewis uses the analogy that if we’re wading in the shallow water, that is not what Jesus desires. He wants us to get out of our depth and out of our own control.
I wear a gold cross that to me is a symbol of faith, hope, and resurrection; but the cross Jesus spoke of was a symbol of suffering, torture and death in those times. He asks us to be willing to endure whatever may come as a result of our belief in Him. Few of us are called on to really suffer for our faith, but I know that at times I have failed to stand up as I should in order to “fit in with the crowd”. My prayer is that God will give me the strength to better handle even such a small, small cross.
Jesus finally asks us to “follow Me”. If we are going to go with Jesus, He’s telling us to let him lead. We cannot be in charge. Our culture of meritocracy and self-reliance makes letting go hard. We need to believe in Him and conform to His example in living. The example of Jesus was as an advocate for the least, the lame, and the lost. Following Jesus does not let us turn a blind eye or deaf ear to the ills so evident in our society.
Jesus’ words lay a heavy burden on us. I often find it hard to totally give all of myself to Jesus. When I feel this way I pray for God’s help and try to remember He told us “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” –Matthew 11:30.
PRAYER—Lord Jesus, I want to deny myself, take up my cross daily, and go with You. Help me to live not for myself, but for You. In Your name I pray, Amen.
Written by Lee Herring