"Cross bearing is about death, not self-improvement."

The following is from a blog I just discovered this morning. I thought this post was far too valuable not to share with those of you who read my blog. I am going to add this site to the list of blogs I read.

The following quote is taken from:
The Purple Cellar
I was brought up short when I came across these words of Jesus' this morning: "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27). I had to ask myself, "Has this been a year of cross bearing?" How about for you? What comes to mind as we reflect on 2008 can be an indicator of where we are in terms of discipleship. Are we considering goals reached and blessings acquired? Perhaps we're focusing on our failures and disappointments. In either case, if our 2008 retrospective is focused on ourselves, we are missing the point of discipleship. Cross bearing is about death, not self-improvement. The less we think about ourselves at all, the closer we get to true discipleship. Certainly there's a good and right place to examine our lives--our successes, our growth in godliness, our failures, disappointments, and our hopes--but true discipleship isn't about us at all. It's about Christ. The more caught up we are in him, the more our thoughts are preoccupied with him, the closer we are to true disciples. So by that standard, I failed miserably this year. How about you?

As we consider our goals and hopes for 2009, how about putting this one at the top: "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil 1:21). It's impossible on our own, but are we willing to lean on Christ and trust him to work it into us? Are we even willing to have this sort of heart? Jesus followed up his words on true discipleship with a warning about counting the cost, which means that "For me to live is Christ" might include letting go of personal goals, dreams, and hopes along the way. Are we willing--willing enough to pray this week that God will work into us a Philippians 1:21 heart throughout the coming year?

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