August 30

Matthew 16:24-26

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” vs. 24

Jesus did not consult a marketing expert when he began his historic mission in the towns and villages of Galilee. If he had, he would have been told that self-denial is not the way to attract followers. It just doesn’t work! Which is why contemporary Christian leaders have largely abandoned any pretense of self-denial in either their personal lives or in their professional outreach. That message, while clearly evident in the lives of so many saints, has been completely drowned out by our consumption obsessed culture and the worship of winning at all costs. We are taught from an early age that we can be and do anything that our heart desires, and all that is needed is hard work, wise investment, and discipline. The result has been, to a large extent, the loss of our souls. We’ve gained the whole world and lost our lives! But Jesus doesn’t give up! The One who sacrificed all, and went willingly to the cross, continues to come to us as the Christ, with an invitation to lose ourselves for the sake of others. And amazingly, some are listening and walking in the way of the cross. They have found that the secret to the good life is in self-surrender and in looking to the needs of those around them. Joy floods in when we stop trying to be right, admit our weakness, and give others the last word.

Thought for the Day: How can self-denial be made attractive?

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