Let God Change Your Life
By Greg Laurie
Excerpt from the book Let God Change Your Life by Greg Laurie.
General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, wrote of the dangers he saw facing the gospel in the twentieth century. Among other things, he saw a “gospel” that would present “Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, and Heaven without Hell” (emphasis added). And isn’t that what we often hear substituted for the true gospel today?
To deny ourselves, take up the cross daily, and follow Jesus Christ flies in the face of the deep self-love that is so prevalent today, even in the church. We hear a great deal about “self-worth,” “self-image,” and “self-esteem.” And this shouldn’t surprise us, because the Bible warns us that narcissistic attitudes will be common in the days before Christ’s return:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. (2 Tim. 3:1–5 NIV)
What an accurate description of our times! As we look at our nation and see a society coming apart at the seams, we must realize that America’s only hope is a nationwide revival.
God gives us His recipe for revival in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
One of the first conditions we must meet in order to have our sins forgiven and our land healed is found in the beginning of this passage: “If My people … pray.” Of the twelve Hebrew words employed to express the single verb to pray, the one used here means to “judge self habitually.” It doesn’t mean to love yourself or to esteem yourself, but to judge yourself … habitually.
This is what Jesus means when He tells us to deny ourselves. Discipleship involves commitment. Although discipline is not an appealing word or idea for many of us, it is an essential ingredient to becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. Discipline requires us to set aside our aims, goals, ambitions, and desires. It involves giving up our wills, dreams, and rights.
Jesus underscored this when He said, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). This does not mean that to live the life of a disciple, one must take a vow of poverty and give everything away. Jesus meant that we are to surrender our claim to our possessions. We are not to be possessed by possessions.
The only “obsession” a disciple should carry is an obsession with Jesus Christ. He must be the most important pursuit in our lives. He must be more important than our career or our personal happiness. In fact, we’ll never find happiness until we are fully committed to Christ. Happiness is a by-product of knowing Him: “Happy are the people whose God is the LORD” (Ps. 144:15 HCSB).
As Samuel Rutherford said, “The cross of Christ is the sweetest burden that ever I bore.” The truth is that when we die to ourselves, we find ourselves. When we lay aside personal goals, desires, and ambitions, God will reveal the goals, desires, and ambitions that He has for us. This is what the apostle Paul meant when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me’’ (Gal. 2:20).
Are you bearing your cross right now and following Jesus? For some people, this may mean suffering persecution. For others, this might require a major change in lifestyle. It may cost you friends. It could even mean dying for your faith. Whatever the case, bearing your cross should influence every aspect of your life.
Until we recognize that everything belongs to Jesus, we are not His disciples. If we are aware of God’s will for our lives but unwilling to go where God wants us to go, we are not His disciples.
©2011 Greg Laurie. Let God Change Your Life published by David C Cook. Publisher permission required to reproduce. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Order your copy of Let God Change Your Life
More from Greg Laurie at his website: www.greglaurie.com
More Discipleship Resources
Free Online Bible Courses
Read the Bible on CBN.com
More from Spiritual Life
Best-selling author Greg Laurie (Gold Medallion winner for The Upside-Down Church, Lost Boy, and more) is senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, one of the largest churches in America. Founder of the Harvest Crusade, Laurie's nationally syndicated radio program, A New Beginning, is broadcast on more than 500 radio outlets around the world. Along with his work at Harvest Ministries, Laurie serves on the board of directors of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, among others. For more about Pastor Greg, visit his personal homepage at www.greglaurie.com.
Log in or create an account to post a comment.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.