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.
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!
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.
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 transformation 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.