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Devotionals :: Day by Day by Grace :: Today's Reading

Hoekstra's Day by Day by Grace (December 19th)

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Following Jesus as a Disciple

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…Follow MeIf anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Matthew 28:19; John 1:43; and Luke 9:23)

Living daily by God's grace depends upon getting to know Him and then walking in the humility and faith that result from fellowship with Him. We have reflected upon four ways to relate rightly to the Lord in humility and faith: living by the Spirit, living by resurrection power, living by the sufficiency of God, and living by the promises of God. Another example is following Jesus as a disciple.

When our Lord was about to leave His disciples, He gave them the marching orders that were to guide the lives of His people until He would return. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations." Jesus had been calling out people to follow Him as disciples. Now, they were to continue doing the same. A disciple is a follower of a master, who guides and shapes the lives of his followers. Jesus is the ultimate Master, who gives us a new life in Him-life eternal. Jesus' invitation to discipleship was "Follow Me." Along with this invitation, Jesus often explained the terms of discipleship: "If anyone desires to come after Me." This would inform the willing and interested about how to respond. These terms dramatically depict the necessity of relating to the Lord in humility and faith.

The first aspect of being a disciple of Jesus is renouncing the self-life. "Let him deny himself." True disciples refuse to develop their lives by fallen human resources (which are inherited from Adam through physical birth). Thus, followers of Jesus are to repudiate self-sufficiency, self-help, self-righteousness, self-exaltation, and the like. Our willingness to embrace this term of discipleship will be seen by our humble agreement with similar biblical pronouncements. "Make no provision for the flesh" (Romans 13:14). Those denying self do not want the flesh to have opportunities to indulge itself. "The flesh profits nothing" (John 6:63). Those who renounce self confess its total spiritual bankruptcy. We "have no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 3:3). Those who repudiate the self-life do not want to place any hope in the natural resources of the flesh. "That no flesh should glory in His presence" (1 Corinthians 1:29). Those denying the self-life agree that nothing of the flesh can ever boast in itself before the Lord God Almighty.

Dear Lord Jesus, I want to relate rightly to You by following You as a disciple. I do not want my flesh to have any opportunity to indulge itself. I confess total spiritual bankruptcy in my flesh. I want to place no hope in my flesh. I agree that my flesh can never boast before You. I humbly renounce the self-life!

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