Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Three Conditions to Being A Disciple & Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Link-Up Party!

Self or Self-Denial?

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately on what it means to be a Christian, and the conditions for discipleship. Jesus doesn't force us to be his disciple, does He? 

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'" (Matthew 16:24)

Jesus says, "whoever wants to be my disciple..."

If you want to be His disciple, Jesus makes it very clear. There are three conditions for discipleship:

  1. Deny Yourself. Self-abandonment.
  2. Take up your cross. Do what God wants.
  3. Follow Him.
But wait! The whole world we live in is encouraging us to do things our way. To do what you want to do. To have it your way. To look out for number one. To not deny yourself anything. Self-actualization. Self esteem. Self awareness. Self. Self. Self.

For those of us who are Christians, Jesus tells us to do the very opposite. He tells us in order to be His disciples we need to empty ourselves of ourselves and our ways. We need to deny ourselves. We need to give up our right to ourselves. 

Someone once said any time anything cuts against our will we need to see it as a chance to die to ourselves.  That is the first condition of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

The second condition of being a disciple is to take up your cross. That's doing what God wants. It is a decision. We are our decisions and our choices—not our feelings. We do not have to be subservient to our feelings, much as the culture tells us to be. 

It does not matter how we feel about something (we do have feelingsbut we do not have to be slave to them!). What matters is what God tells us in His Word. What matters is that we do what God wants. Yesterday's one minute blog spoke on obedience, and had a great, short quote by Jeremy Taylor.

I can't say that I feel good about denying myself. No, it does not feel "good." When my daughter was born totally blind having been born without eyes—I cannot say I felt good about denying my right to a happy motherhood of a child born with two eyes. By an act of will, I made a decision to accept God's will for my life and my daughter's life (taking up of the cross).

Did you know there is a direct correlation with self abandonment and fulfillment? As we deny ourselves, we find fulfillment in following the will of God. That's the beauty of God's will. I am fulfilled in my daily life, knowing that am doing what God called me to do as the mother of a blind child. As I abandon my desire and accept His will for my life, I find His purposes in my life.  

Jesus is our supreme example of self denial. He took up His cross for us because it was the Father's will. Jesus told His Father when He wanted to know if there was any other way other than what was about to transpire on the cross: "Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14:36)

What do we want most in this world? Can we say it is God's will in our lives? If we truly want His will, we can have it. We can know it. We take up our cross regardless of how we feel about it, and do what it is He wants us to do. 

And we follow Him. Moment by Moment. Day by day.

Do you want to be His disciple? Are you willing to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him?

Next time, I'll tell you the two choices we have when something comes into our life we never would have desired or asked for, and we'll talk about asking God for His purpose for our lives.  I want to give you the beautiful life prayer of Betty Scott Stam.

I'd love to connect with you wherever you most like on FacebookInstagramPinterest, Youtube or Twitter. You may follow my blog here.

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Now it's time for 
Wednesday's Prayer Girls & Link-Up Party!

Each Wednesday I like to offer to pray for your non-confidential prayer request or praise in the comment section below. Please enter a prayer if you would like me to pray for you (and pray for one another!) and I will reply to your prayer there.

If you're a Christian blogger, we all would love to see what you've been writing! Enter your blog link below to join the party!

Walk by Faith,


  1. I'm praising God today for Christian Sisters in the Lord at church, in Bible study, and those I've met through blogging. To God be the glory for the bond we have in Christ!

  2. Hi Juana! Thank you for your powerful prayers for all of us! You will be in mine as well.

    Can I just say how I suffered with you as you described your daughter's birth? I know you overcame it all, but that moment of realization... How your heart and soul have turned to mighty works for him. And he knew that all along. The Lord is an amazing God.

    I am working on denial, in the fact that I need to get in better shape. Your post is very timely for me. I need to pick up that cross, and put down the brownie.
    Blessings to you, Juana. And thank you for your lovely bloghop :)

    1. Hi Ceil, I love lifting up the readers every Wednesday! Thank you, too, for praying. Your note was such an encouragement to me. I love how God spoke to you in a specific area. I am so glad it was timely for you, Blessings to you! Love, Juana

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you Sundi so much for letting me know. Love to you, Juana

  4. Always look forward to Wednesdays! Prayers for a friend (single mom of 2 boys) who has recently become homeless. She went to FL to stay w/a friend for what was supposed to be 2 mos and it only lasted a few weeks. She is back here living at a local ministry office w/no way to bathe, or prepare meals. So she has been coming to our home and others to do laundry, shower, and share meals. She is hopeful that she may be able to get into a home foreclosure but that takes time. The ministry she is staying at is moving the 1st week of November, and we just do not have any room here at our home. But if she can get in a foreclosure, it would be her 1st HOME!
    Also still prayers for Wayne. Hubby & 14yo & I went to his home this past weekend to do some yard work and love on him. He is very weak and in despair that he cannot spend time with his children when he may not be around much longer. We are going back next week for more and am trying to get in touch with his wife to see if there is anything she needs, even though he says they are good. Having a 6 1/2 yo daughter with Downs and now a husband w/cancer, there is bound to be some way we can help her.
    My jewelry business has gone well lately but hopefully and prayerfully will increase in the time up to CHRISTmas but at the same time not be too overwhelming for me. I would really love to be able to help pay down some of our debt. Thank you SO much Juana for your faithfulness to us. Love you!

    1. Hi Jana! I've been away at a field trip with Mary but haven't forgotten you one bit! Let's pray! Heavenly Father, We lift up this dear woman who has no home. Lord, will you provide just what she needs at this time, Lord? You know just what she and the boys need and we ask you to provide for them. Help her to know that You love and will care for her through the body of Christ, and by revealing to her day by day that You will provide for her. We lift up Wayne to you as he battles cancer. Help him to trust you with his time, and help Jana and her family know just how to minister to them. Guide Jana in her jewelry business Lord. We ask for your favor on her that she may pay off her debts Lord. Guide her family Lord,spiritually, physically, emotionally,& financially. All of our hope is in You. Amen.

  5. Thank you so much for being such an encouragement. You are a very special lady!

    1. Hi Jacqueline! And thank you for taking time to comment such kind words. You know how much it means:-) Blessings to you!

  6. This seems like a never ending battle, its a daily struggle, no its a daily war for me. At times I feel bad that I'm warring against myself to do what I fully know is right. I don't want to be discouraged in my service to my Heavenly Father, I feel sometimes that I won't be able to match up, that I'll fail. I have to watch that thinking pattern since I don't want the noise of the Wicked One to drown GODS voice. Reading this post from you today made me understand why I need to wear "protective armour " of GOD to ward of the blows from this self absorbed world. It reminds me of Ephesian 6: 5-20. I may have to read this daily until it sinks down deep inside that I get it. Nice encouraging words Juana♥

    1. Oh, Tracey, I'm so sorry that I'm just now responding to your comment. I so appreciate your transparency! You remind me of what Paul says: he does the very thing he hates. Don't we all! We aren't in heaven yet! We all fail on this side, but we can continue to put our trust in Him, knowing it's His grace in us that never fails! We fail! I am praying for you right now, Tracey that the Lord will encourage you in your walk with Him in a very tangible way this week! Love, Juana


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