No, I’m not advocating suicide… well, maybe I am, in a way.
I’m advocating what Jesus insisted upon for everyone who wanted to be His disciple…
Jesus was NOT the soft-spoken, wouldn’t-harm-a-flea guy the culture makes Him out to be.
He was a radical. He was an extremist. He was passionate for the things that mattered most.
That’s where statements like Matthew 16:24-26 come from.
What’s He really saying?
- Self-denial is the normal course of life for a follower of Jesus.
- The suffering of self-sacrifice is the everyday experience of a Christ-follower.
- Jesus is the boss when you decide to follow after Him.
- If your main concern is to preserve your own well-being and comfort, you’re going to lose out.
- If you consider your own life to be only about accomplishing Jesus’ desires, you’re going to receive a life greater than you ever dreamed.
- Earthly stuff doesn’t matter to a disciple, because he knows he’s exchanging the temporary for the eternal.
- If you mess up this decision, you don’t have enough resources to fix it.
That’s a pretty radical mindset, and it’s exactly what Jesus was advocating.
Because when life is over and you stand before God, the only thing that will matter is whether or not your life counted for the things Jesus says really matter.
So, let me ask you again… you’re going to die eventually, so why not now?
That question isn’t just for illustrative purposes. It’s real. It’s important.
You can make the choice, right where you sit, to give your life for something greater than self-absorption and temporal gain. You can give it up, you can die to self, and you can make yourself the servant of the King of kings and Lord of lords, for the rest of your earthly days.
That’s dying to self… and it’s what you have to do if you are going to truly be a disciple of Jesus.
He doesn’t care how much you attend church. He doesn’t care if you serve in the nursery or the visitation ministry or on the worship team. He doesn’t care if your life looks all nice and respectable… not if in your heart of hearts you are still living for you. Jesus wants you to die to self.
What about your family?
How are they going to fare under your leadership if all you care about is this life?
- What are they going to know about their Creator and their place before Him as a creature?
- What is going to fuel their hearts as they grow up in a world that is bent against the King of the universe?
- How are they going to know what it means to live passionately for the sake of something bigger than themselves?
How are they going to be pointed in the right direction, if you don’t point them there?
And how can you do that, if you’re living for the sake of this life alone?
I’m going to ask you again… you’re going to die eventually, so why not now?
What is so precious that you wouldn’t give it up in order to have Jesus?
Can you tell me? Truly, I’d like to know.
Jesus is asking a radical question of you, today. How are you going to answer? Is there anything more important than this moment, right now, as you consider the calling and claim of Jesus on your life?
YOU have the opportunity to change your destiny. YOU have the chance to break the chains of family dysfunction. YOU have the ability, right now, to set your family on a course of God-honoring, Christ-exalting, radical discipleship that lasts for generations.
Will you do it?
Will you choose to die today, so that one day in the not-so-distant future, you are not lying on your death bed with the realization that you never really lived?
I’m wrapping up with a video from a guy named Matt Papa. In my estimation, from everything I can tell, he’s a sold-out, radical Jesus-follower. This video makes the point very clearly. As Matt says at the beginning, “The only thing Christianity cannot be, is moderately important.” Listen and let the Spirit of God work in your heart.