LUKE 9:23 – And Jesus said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
THEME OF THE DAY: WHAT ABOUT US? A story is told of a man who had a dream about being in heaven. It went like this, “I saw in a dream that I was in the Celestial City—though when and how I got there I could not tell. I was one of a great multitude which no man could number, from all countries and peoples and times and ages.
Somehow I found that the saint who stood next to me had been in Heaven more than 2000 years. “Who are you?” I said to him. (We both spoke the same language of heavenly Canaan, so that I understood him and he me.) “I,” said he, “was a Roman Christian; I lived in the days of the Apostle Paul, I was one of those who died in Nero’s persecutions. I was covered with pitch and fastened to a stake and set on fire to light up Nero’s gardens.” “How awful!” I exclaimed. “No,” he said, “I was glad to do something for Jesus. He died on the cross for me.”
The man on the other side then spoke: “I have been in Heaven only a few hundred years. I came from an island in the South Seas—Erromanga. John Williams, a missionary, came and told me about Jesus, and I too learned to love Him. My fellow-countrymen killed the missionary, and they caught and bound me. I was beaten until I fainted and they thought I was dead, but I revived. The next day they knocked me on the head, cooked and ate me.” “How terrible!” I said. “No,” he answered, “I was glad to die as a Christian. You see the missionaries had told me that Jesus was scourged and crowned with thorns for me.”
Then they both turned to me and said, “What did you suffer for Him? Or did you sell what you had for the money which sent men like John Williams to tell the heathen about Jesus?” And I was speechless. And while they both were looking at me with sorrowful eyes, I awoke, and it was a dream! But I lay on my soft bed awake for hours, thinking of the money I had wasted on my own pleasures; or my extra clothing, and costly car, and many luxuries; and I realized that I did not know what the words of Jesus meant: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34).
It’s a story that needs no comment. What it needs is to be used as a tool of serious self-reflection, self-evaluation, and may in many areas of our lives lead us to a season of repentance and reformation. Remember, a Christianity that doesn’t demand all of who we are and have is not Biblical Christianity.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to live a life of following Your Son, defined by Your Word not my fleshly desires for comfort.”
QUOTE: “A Christianity that does move us to sacrifice all we are and have for the Lord Jesus is not true Christianity.”
In the affection of Christ Jesus,