Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.(Mark 8:34)
When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.(Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
When Jesus called us to take up our cross he was not calling us to bear our burdens. He was calling us to come and die. Trevor Lloyd spoke about what this actually means in practice and you can listen or read about it here.
Trevor suggests we need to recapture this truth because in the West we have sometimes tried to make Christianity too palatable to our culture. For some, throughout history, and still in our world today, faithfulness to Jesus and the gospel means laying down their actual, bodily life. They are martyred. But we are all called to die to self everyday – it is real and often difficult. We can only live a life of such self-emptying and self-sacrificing love by the power of the Spirit and we can only live by the Spirit if we ‘crucify’ the flesh (Galatians 5:13-15,24-26). Consider what impact this might have. And recognize that it is easier (not easy!) to die to self when we believe in resurrection.
If it helps, here are some questions to guide your discussion (but don’t be limited by them):
- Do you feel that it is true that we have sometimes tried to make Christianity too palatable and gain the approval of the world? What are the effects of this?
- What does dying to self look like for you in everyday life?
- What does it means to say that ‘dying to self is easier if you believe in resurrection’?
For Next Time:
In the next message and Hub Notes, we will be looking at practising the way of Jesus.
There is a PDF version of these Hub Notes here