Friday, December 10, 2010

2010 – December 10 – Laying Down A Life

Study from God’s Word Acts, Chapters 20 – 21 … Passage for Reflection: Acts 21: 13 … NIV [Fearing for Paul’s life if he were to go to Jerusalem, his travel companions in Caesarea exhorted Paul to refrain from going there, lest he be bound over to the Romans and killed.] 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

My Journal for Today: Do you remember what Jesus said to His followers about being His disciple (quoted in Luke 9:23)? Quoting in the NIV: Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Paul certainly was not have been on that hillside in Capernaum when Jesus declared what it took to be His disciple; but reading today’s highlight text, shows that he was willing to follow Christ wherever the Spirit of God would lead him, … yes, even unto death, following in the Spirit-led footsteps of His Lord, Who had walked that path to Jerusalem Himself.

What about it, my fellow Christian? Are we signed up, calling ourselves “Christian,” to deny even our own lives if that’s what His direction calls from us as His disciples? Sure, if we – somehow – knew that we had to die for someone dear to us, maybe a spouse, our kids, or maybe even a dear friend, I would bet that we’d do it if we knew that we could jump in front of a bullet and take it instead of our love one. That’s what Secret Service agents are willing to do for our President; but if you knew that tomorrow could possibly be your end on this earth for following your Lord, would you walk that walk of discipleship?

There are many examples in the Bible of that type of faith. There was Daniel and his three young friends in the Old Testament; … there’s Phillip, the first recorded martyr in the New Testament; and as history would record, ten of the original twelve inner-core Disciples died a martyr’s death, as did the Apostle Paul, late in his missionary journeys. These were followers of The Lord who were willing to follow Him anywhere and everywhere He would lead, even if they knew it might be their death.

And I would expect that many of us, reading what I write here, would say, “Yes, if the circumstances presented themselves in my life, I would do what Paul did and follow Jesus even unto death.” But, what about the challenging question posed by F. LaGard Smith in his devotional for today? He writes: ”If I think I’d be willing to DIE for my faith, were I actually put to the test, am I equally committed to the even greater challenge of truly LIVING for my faith?”

And knowing God’s challenge to us by God, through Paul’s exhortation to believers in Romans 12: 1-2 [linked here], I’m convicted and committed to live up that challenge. What about you?

My Prayer for Today: I want to be a LIVING SACRIFICE for You, my Lord. Help me; lead me; empower me. Amen

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