It’s Hard to Die
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:36).
Scripture: Luke 6:32-36
Jesus spoke many hard sayings. Is it really possible to show mercy in the same way God shows mercy? Do we really want the Father to forgive us as we forgive others? And that hardest saying of all: Are we ready to die for Him?
Jesus spoke that hard saying to those closest to Him: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Denying self runs contrary to our times; surely I have rights! But Jesus didn’t stop with a simple moral decision. Those who would follow Him must take up their cross daily. The cross meant one thing: death.
Dealing with this theme, the speaker at a men’s retreat handed out small metal crosses. He told the men, “Carry the cross in your pocket to remind you of Jesus’ command. When tempted to be selfish, finger the cross; when tempted to sin, finger the cross. Let it remind you that you died with Christ so you can live unto Him, not only in eternity, but right now.”
The speaker had it right: We can never know joy until we learn to die to self and give ourselves to others. But self doesn’t die easily. That is the meaning in Jesus’ words following this hard saying: If you live for self, you lose your life; die to self, you come alive.
O Eternal Lord God, give me the grace to surrender self so I may come alive to You. Then show me how to bring others to Your glorious cross. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I pray. Amen.
(From the iPhone app “Devotions 365”.)