Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Luke 9:23 (NKJV)
Do you realize that what comes out of your heart is what you really worship, and that it is always related to self? Jesus knew that we tend to worship ourselves, and He told us that if we are to be His disciples we have to deny ourselves, including the sinful desires of the flesh, in order to take up the cross and follow Him. It is only then that we can live like Him and reflect Him and His glory in our lives.
If we are truly Christ centered we can say that we are loving God with our whole heart, mind and soul and that we can love our neighbor as much as we already love ourselves. That’s what it means to live a cross-centered life. Do you know what it means to live with the cross in view in your daily life?
It means that we apply the crucifixion to to our flesh (or desires of the sinful nature). We acknowledge that these things were really put to death at the cross. What was crucified at the cross with Christ was the power of these sins to reign over the believer-the power to control or dominate and rule your life.
Yes, there still is a battle and sometimes the battle is hot and raging as you struggle to subdue your flesh and its outrageous desires! Sometimes those desires can feel so strong that they feel overpowering and unconquerable!
But oh Believer! Oh Beloved of Christ, you must begin to believe and live out the truth that there is NO sin that can stand against His power, the power that has set you free!! As you put your faith into action, considering yourself dead to the sinful desires of the heart and instead living for the glory of God you will begin to see changes take place in your thoughts, beliefs, and desires! You will begin to experience the victory that is already yours in Christ!
Study Romans 6:1-11 to see what I mean, but you must understand and believe that it all begins in your heart- with setting your affections on Him more than on yourself!
Paul always reminds us that we have a choice to make. We can seek to glorify ourselves and insist on our desires or we can live to glorify God and insist on His desires. If our motives are to trust Him and His sovereignty, His glory, leading others to Christ, practicing our faith, then there will be corresponding evidence (fruit) in our lives.
So be transformed…
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NASB)
Christians are expected to change and be changing. In fact in Romans 12:2 the English word for transformed is metamorphosis from the Greek. It’s the word used as a monarch caterpillar becomes a monarch butterfly. We are to transformed from the unredeemed caterpillar, who is dead in sin and be transformed to into the beauty of our Savior.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2 (NIV)
This is the key to living a life that has Christ-centered affections of the heart. We are to be renewed in our thoughts so thoroughly that we will no longer look like “us.” The tansformation is to be so thorough that our very disposition is to be pointed in the direction of heaven and Christ. Heavenly thoughts come as one understands heavenly realities. This requires study and dedication to the Word of God. To know His thoughts and have them retrain us to react and respond from His nature that dwells inside of us and is being brought to life (in a sense) by our actions.
We will be displaying Christ.
“Best of” Series running the rest of the week while I am speaking at the IABC Conference in Denver, CO. If you are in Denver, come to the conference! I would love to meet you!