Jesus: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20
Peter: “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” I Peter 3:15
One of the adolescent conflicts with my middle son, Jim, escalated into a particularly confrontational verbal altercation. Our tempers flared. I said something terrible. My words were sinful. I felt remorseful and repented. “Jimmy, I am so sorry,” I said. ” Please forgive the sinful words I spoke to you.”
“Mom, I forgive you, and you need to let go of it now. But I don’t understand. How could you say something like that? You read your Bible and pray everyday.”
“That’s who I’d be everyday, Jimmy, if I didn’t start my days with Scripture and prayer.” I was surprised by my answer. I knew that I had not spoken, but that the Holy Spirit had spoken powerfully through me to me. He used my sinful failure to reinforce my need to choose each morning to die to self and live for Christ by His resurrection power – to take off my old self and put on my new self – to set Christ apart in my heart as the Lord and King to be followed and to be obeyed for another day. Some days I have stayed surrendered to the will of God, but some days I have capitulated to the old self. One thing I know, though. I am not who I would have been without the One who told me to take up my cross daily and follow Him. His Grace covers the failures and His Spirit picks me up and prompts me to call on Him to try again each new morning.
Jesus, today I want to follow You and obey You. I choose to set You apart as King on the throne in my heart. I choose to die to myself and my agenda and live for You and Your agenda. I confess that I am stubborn and rebellious and in my flesh I can’t pull it off for more than a few minutes, if even that long. So please Holy Spirit, fill me and empower me to live for The King today.