Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
Following Christ leads to death...
If you really are a disciple of Christ you are going to find yourself being attacked, you are going to find yourself in a war without discharge. You will find yourself at the front line of attack by wicked spiritual forces and these attacks will manifest in the real world. Your enemies are spiritual but they will manifest in the actions of unsaved people. You will find that people who don't know you suddenly hate you. You will find that the worst of humanity will be arrayed against you.
Following Christ has led me to death
But its death of self
When i received the gift of salvation I was amazed at what i had gained for free. I mean I have a relationship with the creator of the universe and his son has made me a part of the family. I am a joint heir with Christ Jesus who stands at the right hand of the father. I was amazed ...
I used to tell people that it was free..
But it has cost me something, it cost me my self. My habits, my desires, my personality, my ego , my sons respect, my personal respect for the city I was born in, the dignity of a community, the moral standing of a city, my pride at some point even my human dignity.
Everything that was me has died for the sake of my beliefs .. for the sake of the Christ...
My self is dead, but scripture says
Romans 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Their is death of self but their is also a brand new life hidden in Christ Jesus. I can remember once praying to God to use me. I never realized what a dangerous prayer that was... before god can use you he has to make you into something he can use..
for me that has been a very long, on going process....
In the course of that process, I have been changed in ways i never thought possible. i used to really believe in the world. i really thought that most people were at some level "good". But I have gotten to see how quickly human beings can treat other human beings like animals for the sake of money. In years past women were my passion and my greatest weakness, now I would rather read my bible than look at a woman. My desire for human contact is at its lowest point in my life. i have seen the filth of the world and it has made me long even more for the kingdom.
I find my self sitting around wondering about when Jesus will return more often than i wonder about meeting people. I have a lot of joy but its all joy based on Gods creation and his manifest power. This trial has been very different from any other trial in my life in that i understand its nature. I used to fight people. But now I understand that my issue is with dark powers and principalities.
What i was is dead.
That puts me in a unique position
See once you are dead... what do you really have to worry about in life? I think the true nature of following Jesus is knowing that it ends in death. but its a death that leads to life.
I have faced 4 years of wickedness. I have seen people doing more evil than I thought possible. but I have also seen God keep me and if i serve a God who can come to the most wicked city in America and keep his servant.
I serve a pretty awesome God.
I have discovered that even in the heart of evil I can still have the joy of Christ and thats cause for me to worship him. I have lost my children, I have lost my family and I still have joy because i know that God allowed it for a purpose. He allowed this trial for a purpose and i don't have to know WHY
I just have to know Who.
I was used by the Christ and I can be happy with that...
Because this DEATH is leading to Life in him