An Obstacle to Indulgence
Our Cross – Part 2
Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:21-28
Key Verse: Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
I hope we will appreciate the literal suffering that a cross caused in Jesus’ life and what our cross will cause. When we determine to follow Jesus, we must be clear in our thinking about the personal suffering that is involved. An authentic follower of Christ denies himself the pleasures of selfishness and says no to all ungodliness. The Apostle Paul’s letter to Titus says it clearly: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12). We want the salvation part, but too many reject the saying no to worldly passions part.
The cross is an obstacle to our indulgences. Let’s be honest, when we indulge ourselves, it feels great. We give ourselves the pleasure that we naturally crave. It is hard to say no to these pleasures, but if we choose to follow Christ, whenever a pleasure is contrary to what we know to be right and godly, we must take that pleasure and nail it to the cross. It must die! The Apostle Peter explains: “Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourself also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires but rather for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1-1). Indeed, the cross we carry is an obstacle to our indulgences!
Father, I will pick up my cross. I will deny the desires and passions of my body and follow you. In Jesus’ name, amen.