WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – Before you get in line to follow someone, you’d be wise to find out where they’re headed and see if that’s where you want to end up.
Jesus was always headed to the cross. Many people thought they’d like to follow Him early on. Most of those changed their minds when they realized where He was going. But He made it clear: “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
Jesus had been carrying His cross long before it was visible. He’d been saying no to Himself and yes to the Father daily – and the Father’s plan for Him had always been the cross. He spent His entire ministry inviting people to follow Him in saying no to themselves and yes to God.
Jesus was (and is) always looking for people who would abandon their own lives for His. Paul had made that choice:
“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:19-20).
Paul’s choice cost him dearly. He had gained much in this world to be proud of: high standing in the community, an enviable education, security in his profession. But when He heard Christ’s call to follow Him, he consciously abandoned it all and he considered that he had made a good deal: “But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss … in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:7-8).
Paul hadn’t been nailed to a cross, but he had crucified his old self-pleasing life and invited the Crucified Christ to take up residence in his body. However, it’s so important to understand the following distinction: Paul had not decided to live his life for Christ – Instead, he had decided to let Christ live His divine life through him!
WONDERFUL THING IN MY LIFE – Many are willing to adopt the Christian religion; few are willing to give their lives to its Founder. By the grace of God, I’ve made the latter choice. The statements of faith by which I affirm that choice follow the general outline of Paul’s in Galatians 2:
Lord, I abandon my futile and foolish efforts to improve myself to be more like You. Instead, I offer the old me to You that you might do with it the only thing it’s good for: Crucify it. By faith, I acknowledge that the life I now live in this body is no longer mine but Yours. I consciously lay down any right to decide whether to do what You want or what I want in any matter. My only question will be, “What do You want?”, and that will be the decision. I will no longer compete with You for control of my will, my values, my thoughts, or my future. I give myself to You because You loved me and gave Yourself for me.