Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Monday, March 11 - Followers

“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'” — Luke 9:23

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On special occasions, military members are invited to sporting events to recognize their service and sacrifice. It’s a heartwarming moment for fans and athletes on observances near Memorial Day or Veterans Day. Tears flow as family members remember those who served years ago, and current military feel appreciated. The chosen path of active military personnel is inspiring.

As we think about some of the best and bravest people who serve in the military, we can draw similarities and be challenged to be more committed to the cause of Christ. Currently, many people tell us what they will not do — rather than what they will do — for Christ. If our ancestors had that attitude, we wouldn’t have churches today.

When Jesus came, He put aside His own personal comfort. It certainly wasn’t convenient to be born in a barn or to live in a wicked world, but Jesus’ purpose was about benefitting others rather than doing what pleased Him. He lived for the moment when He would die to save us from our sins. On several occasions, Jesus spoke about His approaching death to prepare His disciples for that event, but also to show that He is God and knows all things. “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Luke 9:22).

After Jesus spoke about His own upcoming sacrificial death, He challenged believers to die to self and serve God and others. Though our first impulse is to preserve our life and please ourselves, Christians are called to unselfishness and to present ourselves to God to live according to God’s plan for us rather than what we want. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1).

Oftentimes, we think of missionaries as people who give up time with extended family, their favorite foods, sports events and modern conveniences to carry the Gospel to faraway places. And while we may not all be called to be missionaries overseas, we should be willing to deny ourselves and serve God according to His will for our lives. “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me'” (Luke 9:23).

Of course, it’s natural to want wealth, possessions, personal safety and comfort, but the cause of Christ can only be strengthened and spread beyond its current size by service and sacrifice. So will we serve Christ and others, or only look out for ourselves? Precious souls need us to have willing minds, tender hearts, open hands and marching feet for God’s glory.

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia

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