…Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
This call of our Lord to take up our cross is not a high challenge to the super committed, but a clear statement of how things are. Unless we say “no” to self we will not be able to say “yes” to Him every day. Taking up the cross is taking up His call, His mission, His life and habits so that we may experience His great love and find power to obey Him.
One of the great disciplines through the history of the church is fasting. When we fast, we say a very clear “no” to our hungry flesh that we might say “yes” to our spirit and His Spirit. Paul explained in Galatians 6 that if we indulge the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to the Spirit we will reap life!
Choose a meal this week, or even a full day, and give that time to the Lord. Find someone else to join you in your fast that you might pray and encourage each other. Remember, we are not earning anything of His grace, but training our flesh to submit to our will. One discipline will build on the next, until we desire more than the sin our flesh craves.
Only the believer is obedient, and only those who are obedient believe. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
REFLECTION: How does God want me to follow his example today of saying “No” to my flesh and “Yes” to His Spirit?
PRAYER: Father, give me grace to set aside my desire for food and increase my desire for you. My appetites are too important to me and I know it. Help me, Lord Jesus, to find the strength to walk in the Spirit today and enjoy Your presence. Amen