Have you ever wondered what the key is to following Jesus successfully? It’s a question we all have so I want to explore it in this article. Look at Matthew 16:24:
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Jesus said the key to following Him is for a person to deny themself. This sounds easy, but how do we do that? The word deny is interesting. It means to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone. The only way to really follow after Jesus is to have no acquaintance with who we are after the flesh. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus. When we deny our flesh we lose sight of our own priorities and interests because it’s not about us. We also lose sight of our own qualifications or lack thereof because it’s not longer about us; it’s all about Him. Look at Revelation 12:11:
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
This passage says those that overcame didn’t love their own life unto death. How do we do that? First we need to get a revelation of His blood that was shed for us that established the New Covenant on better promises. Check out this message to learn more about the New Covenant. The reason God made this New Covenant is because of how much He loved us. It’s important to focus on His love. God’s love is the why behind what He did for us when He established the New Covenant based on better promises.
We learn about this New Covenant and God’s love for us from the word of God. Revelation 12:11 talks about the word of their testimony. The reason any of us have a testimony is because of learning the word of God’s testimony, which is the Bible. When we spend time studying the Bible, we find out more about the New Covenant and all the things God has promised us. This causes us to both fall in love with God and learn about our new identity in Christ Jesus. Our new identity in Christ isn’t our flesh, it is our born again spirit. It is the real us! The spirit is the part God wants us to relate to because it is connected to Jesus and in the spirit we always wants to do what God wants us to do.
After we get a revelation of our identity in Christ and the love of God for us it becomes easier to not love our lives unto death. Why??? Because God’s perfect love casts out fear. God’s love give us the capacity to believe that His plan for us is good even when He is asking us to do very difficult things. Following God from a heart of love is a game changer. Before I got a revelation of grace I was always trying to deny me and follow Jesus, but I always failed. This is because I had no clue how good God was so I had no power to obey. Deep down I worried God might not come through because I didn’t understand His obsession with Me! Now that I know how head over heals in love with me Jesus is, I know He’ll come through so it’s much easier to obey when He asks me to do hard stuff.
I believe the truths in this article will help you learn to deny yourself and follow Jesus. They have blessed me as I have written the article. One of the interesting things I noticed as I wrote is how intertwined the three concepts I shared were. I talked about God’s love for us which we find out about in His word and out of this we get a revelation of our identity in Christ which causes us to love God more and want to read His word more which causes us to realize how much God loves us and so on. These things are so entangled with one another they are impossible to separate. Once you give your life to Jesus, that’s how it is with you and God. You are so wrapped up in Him, it is impossible to separate you from His love. Check out this passage:
Romans 8:38-39 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Isn’t it awesome to be wrapped up in the divine entanglement? Have an amazing week following Jesus! If you’d like to learn more about the art of self-denial, check out this article I wrote last year.