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March 14 – Preparing by denying, taking up, and following

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23

Scripture reading: Luke 9:18-27

A basic step in discipleship is self-denial. If Jesus really comes first in your life, then you must deny yourself. Self-denial requires the use of the word NO. We are called to say NO to sin and Satan. Consider your life. Do you see a pattern of you saying NO to sin? Discipleship has a price and a vital part of the price is denying yourself.

A further needed step is taking up your cross daily. Jesus’ one atoning sacrifice on the cross is unique, unrepeatable. For us, taking up our cross is different. We are not earning salvation, rather this is the Lord’s call to costly discipleship. It means enduring physical pain, sorrow, or stress. We take up our cross because it causes us to come to the Lord casting our burdens and cares upon Him.

In our text we also see the Gospel call of Jesus: Come, follow me! It is a call to a meaningful life, a call to service, and to experience the love of the Lord. To respond to that call in covenant obedience is the most important decision we will ever make in our earthly life. It is a decision that requires the other two steps: self-denial and taking up the cross. As we look ahead to Good Friday and Easter, and consider our path this week, let us be spiritually prepared. Respond to Jesus’ call to follow Him. Find sweet fellowship with the Saviour as you learn more and more to deny yourself and to take up your cross daily.

Suggestions for prayer

Seek the guidance of the Lord and His strength to learn self-denial. Ask for wisdom to deal with life as a disciple who willingly takes up the cross. Pray for grace to respond affirmatively to Jesus’ call to follow Him.

Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at  

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