Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Little Stott

We should not suppose that self-denial is giving up luxuries during Lent or that “my cross” is some personal and painful trial. We are always in danger of trivializing Christian discipleship, as if it were no more than adding a thin veneer of piety to an otherwise secular life. Then prick the veneer, and there is the same old pagan underneath. No, becoming and being a Christian involves a change so radical that no imagery can do it justice except death and resurrection - dying to the old life of self-centeredness and rising to a new life of holiness and love. Paul was elaborating Jesus’ vocabulary when he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20) and, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24). One final thought: Luke added the adverb daily to the saying of Jesus: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, emphasis added). –from Through the Bible, Through the Year : Daily Reflections from Geneis to Revelation by John Stott (reflecting on Mark 8:34/Taking Up the Cross)

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