Let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (v. 23)
How do you react when you hear the word surrender? Most of our feelings are negative, aren’t they? We picture white flags being run up and armies yielding to their enemies. Surrender suggests weakness, giving up, and a defeated attitude. Surrender is for losers, exactly the opposite of what our society strives for. The world today tells us that we have to make our own way, to do whatever it takes to win. Then we can enjoy the dream life: to be prosperous, independent, and free. In our self-centered culture we are not encouraged to think about submitting to the power of another. We won’t abandon our own motives to give ourselves up to something or someone else. And yet that is exactly what the Bible calls us to do.
When Jesus talks about the cost of being his disciple, he says that we are to “deny ourselves.” This doesn’t mean that we merely deny certain things. It’s not like passing on dessert. Rather, being a disciple means a complete denial of control over our life. In other words, Jesus wants us to surrender all to him.
Over the coming days we will look at the topic of surrender and think about what it means for followers of Jesus Christ. We will consider why surrender is a necessary part of faith. It is my hope and prayer that together we will come to understand the importance of living a life of full surrender to Christ our Lord.
Prayer: Lord, please help us understand what it means to surrender.
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