Art by Patrick Murphy
The following is a meditation on Luke 9:23-24 from my personal journal.
“If anyone wants to come with me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).
To deny myself is to say, “I do not know him” of myself just as Peter said, “I do not know Him” when he denied Jesus. To take up the cross is to embrace my own execution. Following Jesus means following Christ who lives in me. We no longer know Jesus after the flesh so it isn’t Jesus of Nazareth we follow but the Son of God living in us (2 Cor. 5:16; Gal. 2:20). “Life” in these verses is “soul.” Soul is the life I have myself. It is me.
“If anyone wants to come with me, he must not know himself, embrace his execution, and follow my life within. For whoever wants to save himself will lose himself, but whoever loses himself because of me will save himself.”
I cannot just lose myself. Purpose isn’t found in simply losing myself. Losing myself must be a by-product of following Christ within. Knowing Him causes me not to know myself. Following Christ in me causes me to embrace my execution. It is for Him within I lose myself.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Php. 3:8).
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Recently, I read a 5th grade students poster quoting Roosevelt…but misspelled. It read, “There is nothing to fear but fear it’s self.” Instead of “Itself”, he had written “it’s self”. So in rereading it, “There is nothing to fear, but fear; it is self.” The first mention of fear in the scriptures is after Adam and Eve have eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and they become self aware. They hide because they are afraid of being discovered naked. I like what you have written here. To know Christ is to no longer know “I”. For we see in a mirror darkly but then face to face…for we are looking at a completely different face…no longer knowing our selfs in the confusion that’s there, but knowing life and light found in the face of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your sharing and the opportunity to share back!
That’s hilariously true: it’s self instead of itself. Thanks, Kay 🙂