Scripture Reading:  Joshua 24:14-18

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness.”  (Joshua 24:14a)

Joshua issued this call to discipleship to the people of God as they settled in the land God had given them as an inheritance.  The call is clear — “Fear the Lord and serve Him.”  Joshua told the people that they had to make a choice — “Choose this day whom you will serve” (v. 15).

Many years later the greater Joshua, Jesus Christ, gave a similar call — “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?  Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”  (Matthew 16:24-26)

Jesus is clear — there is a cost to being a devoted follower of His.  It is a call to a holy life of faithful service to the Savior.  Jesus said that we should count the cost before we make the choice — “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first set down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him” (Luke 14:27-29).

“Cheap grace,” the idea that we are saved by grace and are therefore free to keep on doing whatever we want to do, has robbed the church of a true understanding of discipleship.  It is absolutely true that our salvation is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8,9); but it is also true that we are saved into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus.  Out of love and reverence for Him, we are to deny ourselves and take up our crosses and follow Him completely.  Even if the cost is great, the infinite benefits far exceed any cost we pay.

But we must also remember that we are not alone in our efforts to follow Jesus.  Think of the cost He paid to make it possible for us to follow Him!  He gives us the power and fortitude to live for Him, for He lives in us — “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”  (Galatians 2:20).  Because He lives in me by His Spirit, I can do what is necessary to follow Him — “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Lord Jesus, I choose to follow You today.  I know that I cannot do this in my own strength.  Fill me fresh with Your presence and power.  Enable me to deny myself and take up my cross and follow You.


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