"Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it." Luke 9:23-24 NRSV
Immediately before Jesus speaks these words, he told his disciples that soon he will be killed but after three days he will be resurrected. He then goes on to give them the instructions in today’s passage to, “deny themselves and take up their cross daily”. How do we do that? What are we being asked to deny? As a result of original sin, our most base and carnal instincts are in opposition to God. We are faced each day with the choice between good and evil. In what we think, in how we feel, and in what we say. It does not matter how religious or righteous we are, we all are faced with this daily struggle, no exceptions. It is important for us each day to acknowledge this about ourselves and to seek God for assistance. How do we overcome our Adamic nature? Every battle requires preparation, you cannot win without a plan. To prepare, it is vital to spend time each day reading and meditating upon God’s word and spending time in prayer. Through his word we find enlightenment and guidance. In conversation with God, we not only share all those things on our hearts, but we can also ask for his deliverance, and listen to his voice. In seeking God we redirect our focus from earthly desires to heavenly joy. In giving up our self we save our life.
God, we give you thanks for your grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit. We know our instincts are in opposition to you and we ask for forgiveness. Help us this day to overcome and grow in our relationship with you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.