Lay Down Your Life

October 5, 2012

Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Lay Down Your Life

“Lay down your life.” What does that mean?
“My life” constitutes all of my hopes, dreams, visions and ideas. It constitutes how I live my life, my likes and dislikes, my agendas, my self-worth and personal identity. It is made up of my own principles and values that I have deemed important and worthy of holding on too. It is pretty much about my wants, my desires, my objectives and about “me”.
We often think and maybe even tell the Lord. “I would lay down my life for You. Lord I give you my life.” Yet how many of us are like Peter and Jesus would say to us as He did Peter in John 13:38, “Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” How many times have I said or you said “Jesus take my life I give it to You”, only to latter take it back again and live it for ourselves? Our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak. So many of us have a heart to follow Jesus, but our true heart isn’t willing to go there yet.
Did Peter get there? Yes, he did. He couldn’t go there in His own strength and through his failure, he had to come to that revelation of himself that he wasn’t as sold out as he said he was. It took Pentecost, the Holy Spirit and a life of living unto Jesus that prepared him for the giving up of his own life when he was martyred. This is where the trying of our faith comes in that is much more precious than gold. True gold, true faith is revealed in the fire of the trials and testing. Then we find out if what we say and proclaim is really what we are. God knows, but we don’t always really know ourselves. Trials have a way of unmasking us and stripping our true feeling, emotions and beliefs naked. In reality, most all of us dress ourselves in a lot of pretense. It is not only what we want others to believe about us, it is what we want to believe about ourselves. Sometimes we are living a lie and we don’t even know it. We are blind to it. If someone told us the truth about us, we would be offended at them, because it is not our perception.
As we walk with Jesus in sincerity and truth. As we ask Him to conform us to be like Him and transform us into His image and likeness; that doesn’t happen in day or even a year. It is a process of the Holy Spirit peeling and unveiling the layers of us like an onion. Layer by layer He is dealing with us as we are willing to allow Him to do so. If He dealt with us all at once, we would be overwhelmed and would probably give up all hope of being changed. Yet through life processes He is faithfully, each day, dealing with us where we are at and each of us are in our own unique places, that is why we can’t judge one another. He is wanting to touch something in your life today. He is wanting to grow you more in some attribute of His character and nature. Often we think in terms of the big transformation and that often takes place in a greater measure when we are saved and filled with the Spirit.
Salvation is an ongoing experience that starts when Christ comes to indwell our spirits as we invite Him in by faith, but then it begins the process of going into the battle ground of the soul; the mind, will and emotions. There it must be a daily submission of our will to His, our mind for His, our heart and feelings for His heartbeat.
Today God is wanting to work on some aspect of you. Tune into Him and ask what it is and how you can cooperate in giving that aspect of yourself to Him more fully and completely. We need to learn to practice His presence, so that in every aspect and compartment of our lives we are allowing Jesus to be Lord, saying “yes” to Him and “no” to self. “Let us “continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” That means in great reverence, humbling ourselves to the Holy Spirit and how He wishes to deal in our lives to bring about a greater transformation into who He is.
That is our goal isn’t it? To be like Him? Then each day is a daily sacrifice to what we formerly were, to walk into what we now are. It was completed upon the cross, but now we are putting application to the truth as we lay down our lives, pick up our cross and follow Him.

Blessings,
kent

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