While social media is designed to express what you’re doing, thinking or updating your status, the Bible reminds readers of a much simpler time. Before modern technological inventions, life revolved around family. Whether this meant following in your father’s footsteps, setting out to explore a new frontier or take over a family business, you didn’t eat or drink without working hard. People didn’t have idle time to contemplate whether your life was acceptable or worthy of by your peers. Rather, selfish desires were set aside for the greater good.
Jesus called the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and [e]take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me], Mark 8:34.
In the first century, Jesus set high standards for his followers. There were no surprises or speculation about what to expect. Rather, Jesus required a full commitment, setting aside any selfish ambitions or desires. In addition, Jesus laid out three major steps as well as a willingness to endure whatever may come during your faith journey. According to the gospel of Luke, these extreme measures caused lesser known disciples to turn away, unable to commit.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control, 2 Timothy 1:7.
To a certain extent, some people are so over committed today that they do nothing well. Others withdraw, doing little or nothing outside of school or work. According to the apostle Paul, discipline is available through the power of the Holy Spirit. This unseen force is attainable through the fruits of the Spirit, but only when you set aside self. Many individuals struggle throughout life with discipline due to the inability to say no to their flesh. This weakness is stunting their growth, unable to break free to reach their full potential. If you are willing and spiritual hungry, set aside self so that God’s will may come into focus.
by Jay Mankus