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)
One of the anthems of my ministry is to spread this truth: what comes out of our mouths reveals who/what we really worship in our hearts.
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, in order to take up the cross and follow Him. I think it is interesting that the charge to take up the cross is voluntary. The call to follow Him is also voluntary. The command to worship God is not voluntary. When we change the focus of worship from ourselves to God we will learn how to live like Him, and reflect Him and His glory in our lives.
As we become Christ-centered we learn how to love God with our whole heart, mind and soul; that will help us to love our neighbor as much as we already love ourselves. This is what it means to live a cross-centered life.
Living daily with the cross in view means making application of the crucifixion to to our flesh (or desires of the sinful nature). We acknowledge that the power of sin to reign over the believer – the power to control or dominate and rule our lives, was crucified with Christ.
Yes, there still is a battle. Sometimes the battle is hot and raging as we struggle to subdue the flesh and its outrageous desires! Sometimes those desires can feel so strong that they seem overpowering and unconquerable! However, we must believe and live out the truth that there is no sin that can stand against His power, and in His power we have been set free! Living out this truth means putting our faith in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice into action. We begin by considering ourselves dead to the sinful desires of the heart. Believe it is true.
Concentrate on living for the glory of God minute by minute, hour by hour. The Apostle Paul reminds us throughout his epistles that we have a choice to make.
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 be transformed from one who is dead in sin to one who is reflecting 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)
We are to be so thoroughly renewed in our thoughts that we will no longer look like “us.” The transformation is to be so complete that our very disposition is to be pointed in the direction of Christ. Godly thoughts come as one understands spiritual realities. This requires study and dedication to the Word of God. Our aim is to know His Word and have it retrain us to react and respond from the Holy Spirit (His nature) who dwells with us. In this, we will be displaying Christ.