Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Jesus can Transform Us: From Self-Centeredness to God-Centeredness

Phote taken from: holidaycamps.org.au
Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
(Matthew 16:24-26,

Recognizing and confessing belief in Jesus as the Messiah is only the beginning of discipleship. Jesus invites every person, but those who want to follow him must be willing to “turn from,” “take up,” and “follow.” Jesus didn’t make being his disciple sound easy. To those who were hoping to have special positions in Jesus’ earthly Kingdom (see Luke 22:24), these statements would have been tough to hear. Denying their personal desires and taking up a cross in order to follow this man was not the life they had imagined.

To “turn from your selfish ways” means rejecting the “me first” attitude. Our normal, sinful human tendency is to take care of ourselves, focusing on personal desires and security (I just describing myself). Jesus was saying that anyone who wanted to follow him first had to turn away from those selfish desires and earthly security and put him in charge. This attitude transforms self-centeredness to God-centeredness. It means dying to self and living for Christ, putting personal desires and life itself into his hands.

Jesus went on to say that those who willingly “give up” their lives will “save” it. This statement was as jarring to people in Jesus’ day as it is today. The Greek word for “life” is psyche, referring to the soul, the part of the person that includes the personality with all its dreams, hopes, and goals. Those who “hang on to” their lives in order to satisfy desires and goals apart from God, ultimately “lose” their lives. Those who willingly “give up” or “lose” their lives for the sake of Christ, whoever, actually “save” them. Think about this: Nothing we can gain on our own can compare to what we gain with Christ. Jesus wants us to choose to follow him, to turn all that we are and have over to his disposal. Instead of letting us foolishly try to control our futures – which only he know – he wisely wants to take care of our lives for his own glory. In Jesus we really live. Amen.

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