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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Today’s Reading | 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. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?” (NRSV)

The message from these passages in Matthew is also repeated in context in Luke and Mark. As I read the scripture again, it made sense why Jesus needed to repeat this message over and over again. We humans are a hardheaded lot at times.

So, what is the message in this scripture? We are all called by Jesus to abandon ourselves in service to him. It is his cross that marks the true disciple. Jesus teaches us that our hope is not in our material possessions and the things of this world but in eternal life with him. We need to be mindful of whom we serve. That service, or discipleship, means we serve all God’s people in this world and care for its resources. Life on this earth as faithful Christians is not always easy. One thing goes wrong in our lives and we begin to be doubtful. Is God abandoning me? However, as  Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated in his book The Cost of Discipleship, “He leads the way, keep close to him.”

God allows us to make our own decisions. He allows us to learn from the decisions we make—both right and wrong. But the right decision is not about material things; it is about the wonderful calling and opportunity he has given to us. Every day I pray I can better yield myself to God so he can work in me. I am a bit of a control freak, you see. But under the mighty hand of God in faith, I can allow God to work in me. His work is always wonderful and good. Once we yield, we can set our mind to overcome any diversity in our life and live the way God wants us to live, in obedience to God and discipleship to others.

What are you still trying to control?

Dear Lord and heavenly Father, I am a work in progress. Please help me to need control less and to submit myself to you so I can truly be your disciple and serve you in this world. Amen.

Written by Lola Coke, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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