Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
This week’s devotional is from Sarah Hockley, Message Academy Course Leader.
The gospel requires a response.
Our response to the gospel is one of surrender.
Surrender sometimes sounds like having to give up your favourite toy because God told you to. And so often we say to God ‘yes I surrender, I lay it all down’ but in reality, we know we haven’t laid everything down, because actually that means letting go of control. But Jesus makes it so clear that if we want to be a true follow of his we need to realise that he is God and we are not. That his plans are perfect and ours are not.
In the initial this sounds hard and so negative, having to give up everything we may have dreamed and planned for ourselves. But how crazy we can be to think that we have it all sorted, when the creator of the universe has a plan for us, which greater than we can ever dream or imagine. But the reality is that if we deny ourselves of what we think is best, this releases us to step into the fullness of hope.
‘A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.’
Being a disciple is a learning process. We’re not going to get it right straight off. It takes time to learn and to grow. I wonder then, do we need to not just respond once but continue to respond to God? As we do this we can demonstrate to so many others what being a follower of Jesus is. By laying our life down to receive God’s love and mercy, by accepting his way is the only way and knowing forgiveness. It’s a journey but it’s one in which we should always choose to respond. Don’t be afraid to get it wrong and make mistakes, but know God’s plan is perfect and his grace is abounding to those who repent.
Follow me – Jesus calls to you – respond and follow him.
As this time as lent comes to an end, I guess we need to think, how are you going to respond to all that you have learnt and disciplined yourself with? How can you surrender and respond to Jesus once again?
We have to respond. To the call from God, to lay everything down before him, to trust him. To respond with our lives, our actions, and to take up all that the cross represents – life, hope, and unconditional love.
What’s your response?
Is it to lay down your life once again? To truly surrender? Or to maybe carry on the disciplines from lent over into everyday life?
We respond to the gospel and we respond to the call God puts on our lives.
This Holy Week we pray that you would move us closer to you. Help us to respond willingly and humbly to your call.
We remember and meditate this week on your son’s death. How he took upon himself the pain, loss and separation that should have been ours. We remember the days he spent in the grave, separated from you, the father, when it seemed as if all was lost. And we also remember that glorious moment when you moved the stone and all was new. As you moved heaven and earth to make a way for us, we pray you would move us today. Help us to respond to love and serve you with all we have and are.
Today we say again, thank you for all that you have done for us. We pray that our gratitude would overflow into love and care for your people and your world, as we await with hope the glorious day of your return when all will be new and we will be in your presence forever.
Think over the disciplines and teachings that you’ve learnt over the season of Lent and decide how you can bring them into your every day life
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