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Don’t be you
Pastor Mike Novotny
by Pastor Mike Novotny
October 26, 2023

One of the most offensive things Jesus ever said was, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Ponder the words whoever, must, deny, and themselves, and you’ll realize why offensive is the right description of Jesus’ teaching.

In saying this, Jesus is rejecting the number-one theme of modern culture—Be you. Be true to yourself. Embrace yourself. Live your truth. The theme of nearly every movie we market at children is, apparently, the exact opposite of what Jesus said. Do you know why Jesus said it? Two reasons come to mind:

First, because we are creatures of comfort. If a sin makes us feel good, we will choose it, regardless of what Jesus has to say on the matter. Therefore, to follow Jesus down his road, we must deny the desire to take our own road and trust he is leading us to the greatest long-term comfort. 

Second, because grace is not logical. Our brains can’t make sense of a love that is given to people who absolutely don’t deserve it. So if we are to find any comfort in being loved for ever and ever, then we must deny our natural inclinations of earning/deserving/being worthy and instead follow Jesus to his cross and empty tomb. It might be irrational for God to forgive us freely for everything, but this is the foolishness of the gospel.

Don’t be yourself. Be what God has called you to be—a repentant sinner who becomes a saint through Jesus.

Posted in Living My Faith