Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (emphasis added) For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:22-27 New International Version
Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:22-27 The Message
The process of sanctification (refocus, rebuild, and remember) is striving for holiness of your heart and life. (1 Thes 4:3 – Wesley’s Notes on the Bible) It is allowing Jesus to lead you. It is recognizing that sometimes we are led to sacrifice, sometimes to stand strong, sometimes to pray, sometimes to watch. There is no list of do’s or do not’s. It is instead a choice to follow and listen – each of us will hear and know in a different way – that is God’s nature in us communicating to us. So going to others to discuss it is of little use. It is a journey we must seek on our own.
This process can be painful, depressing, frightening, confusing, disconcerting, humbling, and, at times, exhilarating. Sometimes, you take two steps forward and then find yourself back where you started. Sometimes you are on a roll and the layers of sin and unbelief peel off quickly. Sometimes, you reach an impasse and it seems like there is no answer. It is hard work to allow Jesus to redefine you as “His” instead of you defining yourself in terms of Him.
For each of us, the path is different. However, for all of us today is the beginning of a new day of striving for holiness of our hearts and lives – a daily commitment to allowing Jesus to lead us. Go forth and let Jesus lead!