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This is another installment in a series that has been adapted from my 11-part MP3 teaching series on A. W. Tozer’s spiritual classic, The Pursuit of God.

Why is it that those of us who have begun our faith by abandoning everything for the grace of God, now choose to continue our journey of faith by adding something to the pursuit of God? Is it not the tyranny of these additional things that must be cut loose? Luke 9:23-24 records the unambiguous words of our Lord, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

There is no third option or room for compromise here. The naked truth is brutal in its meaning and implication. Having once been transformed from death to life, we now must live this new life according to laws that seem downside-up to us. If you wish to say “yes” to Jesus Christ, you must say “no” to everything else. If you wish to hold on to the life you have, you can only do so by giving it away to God. The way of the easy yoke and light burden requires you to shoulder your cross each day, the cross of suffering. Man could never have invented this law; it could only come from above.

Why would you choose a road that seems so antithetical to everything you’ve experienced in this world? The answer is that Jesus never makes an appeal to self-abnegation without guaranteeing a greater good. He always promises that if we willingly give up that which appears to us necessary for life, and then willingly take up what appears to us an instrument of death, he will only kill off that which is lethal to us and marked for death anyway, but he will develop in us that which is eternal and abundant in life. God’s math is the reverse of what we encounter on earth. Matthew 16:26 poses the question, “What will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul?” That is to say, when you do a profit/loss analysis on your 75-80 years or so of life, do you finish in the black or the red if, on the plus side you’ve amassed the wealth of the entire world, while on the minus side you’ve lost your life for eternity?

The answer to that question is only found through faith in what God says, not in what we see. For what we see will always deceive us, making the unreasonable seem so reasonable and the reasonable seem so unreasonable. In the Scriptures, God tells us again and again that there is an enemy within each of us that we tolerate at our peril and it is that self-life – a life committed to protecting, feeding, and celebrating the self. But those who would ascend God’s holy hill where the exalted knowledge of God resides must commit themselves to destroying, starving, and condemning the self. They must become at home in the lonely valleys of soul poverty and the abrogation of all things. For only the poor in spirit are granted entrance into the kingdom and into the presence of the King. And only those who have rooted out of their hearts all need to possess anything but Christ are qualified. However, we must remember, this is accomplished not by fighting, but by surrender.

Have you said “yes” to Jesus Christ and “no” to everything else?

Wishing you God's grace and peace,

Ken Boa
Reflections Ministries

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