To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
September/October 2015 Issue – Standing Strong, ‘I pray … that you may know … his incomparably great power … the working of his mighty strength’ Ephesians 1:18-19
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Luke 9:18-27 (NIVUK): “Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘God’s Messiah.’
Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, ‘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.’
Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?
Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.’”
These words; ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me,’ are certainly a challenge for many. They remind us that each and every day is a day when we carry a cross as we follow Jesus. Consequently, we require God’s help each day to provide the strength to carry our cross, in a way that gives God glory.
In today’s study Selwyn talks about the issue where some members of the charismatic renewal (and similar movements) came to think that they do not need a daily quiet time because they have contact with God’s Spirit – all the time.
He responds to this idea, as follows: “If Jesus needed to have times of quiet to be alone with God then we have a far greater need. He was filled with the Holy Spirit without limit (John 3:34) yet He set aside times of prayer and communication with God.”
A second issue he tackles is the risk that having a quiet time can become legalistic and can lead to feelings of guilt if a person fails to spend time with God. He says: “A daily quiet time is not a demand that God makes. It is a discipline that, when entered into fortifies and enriches life.” Our Lord is a God of love, He understands our frailties and helps us in our time of need. A daily quiet time is entered into, for our benefit, it is not something that God depends upon.
Just returning to the first issue for a moment, it is true that we follow Jesus throughout our day with the help of the Holy Spirit; in our daily quiet time we set the overall direction with God and during the day, as we face various spiritual challenges, we undertake minor corrections to our course based on the promptings of the His Spirit. Any comments?
How do you manage this issue?