Wednesday 15 May 2013


Why mention dying to self, taking up the cross, counting the cost of discipleship? *

These terms, anyway, have rarely been heard over the pulpit nowadays. We’re more comfortable with topics touching on success, blessings, fulfillment, health and wealth. Isn’t it more about living out my dreams and vision?

We are understandably like that because dying to self is painfuleven for Jesus.

As a man, Jesus was fearful of the prospect of a slow, agonising death at the cross and, more so, being forsaken by God when all the sins of the world were heaped on Him. He wanted to know whether such suffering could be avoided.  Besides going to Calvary, did God have any other alternative plans for Him?

Nevertheless, Jesus was willing to set aside His own desiresif death was the only way by which sinful men can be forgiven of their sins and be reconciled to God. Once Jesus was convinced God the Father would have it no other way, He would drink the cup of sorrow down to the dregs.

Christ endured the shame and agony of the cross because He envisioned the joy that would be His when many, many lost souls would be reconciled to God through his sacrificial death.

“When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins” (Isaiah 53:11).

This is the kind of burden God would have us carry. It involves self-denial and sacrifice. It often means moving out of our comfort zone. It may even mean persecution.


Christ’s painful strugglebut eventual obedienceat Gethsemane is an example to us. It challenges our conventional notion of the Christian life as primarily one of blessing.

Looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

“While I was with you, I decided to deal with only one subjectJesus Christ, who was crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Treading the well-beaten path, the one which the majority would take, might lead to drastic consequences.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

 * Carrying the cross and counting the cost

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish’” (Luke 14:27-30).


Who wants to have a burden when we can have blessing? But how about a burden that comes with joy?

Believers who care about cultivating a deeper inner life in Christ should have a “secret garden” experience.

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