“Deny And Take Up” ( Luke 9:23-24, KJV ) by Carley Evans

Jesus gives up His rights — His rights to glory, His rights to being worshiped, His rights to His full power. Simultaneously He takes up human flesh with its physical weaknesses — with functions we never mention when we speak of Jesus perhaps because we can’t quite wrap our minds around those functions in regards to God. Eventually, Jesus literally takes up the cross to die a horrific death on our behalf.

“And [Jesus] says to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”

Tough to relinquish rights, isn’t it? From early childhood, we learn “that’s mine!” and “No, I won’t!” or “You can’t make me!” Denying what’s ours and giving up what we want do not come naturally to us. We desperately want to save ourselves. We don’t want to follow along after someone else.

Jesus says, “Don’t struggle to save yourself. Put all that outer stuff down. Each day, pick up and deal with what comes. And follow Me. Otherwise, in your self-absorption you’ll lose Me and your life.”

“Whatever You Wish” (Matthew 7: 12, ESV) by Carley Evans

Jesus says, “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” Everything in the Law, everything in the Prophets points to and contains this one rule.

Have you given a gift to someone only to discover later that they did not care for it? Was this gift something you wanted to buy for yourself? Did you instead buy it for another person, wrap it, and give it away, secretly wishing someone would give you that very gift? This is love despite the fact that the other person did not, could not fully appreciate your small act of self-denial.

The character, Wesley in THE PRINCESS BRIDE says to Princess Buttercup, “As you wish” to indicate to her that he loves her enough to do whatever she wishes. He sets his own agenda aside and waits upon her desires.

Jesus calls us to examine situations and figure what we would wish in that particular circumstance; then do for others that wish.

You see a man on a cold January morning going through trash cans at a gas station, and you have filled your car with gasoline. Do you drive away? Or do you think about being cold, hungry, perhaps frightened for the coming night when the temperature will drop even more? Do you invite him to your home? Perhaps. Perhaps you do a simpler deed — approach him, ask him if he’d like some breakfast.

“Just coffee.”

“Cream, sugar?”


You stroll into the store, get the coffee, and think about being hungry. You pick out several power bars. The tab comes to five dollars.

You take the food and coffee to the man, who thanks you.

No matter what the circumstance, there is a small gift of love you can give. Of course, there is much more to give. Giving what you can is better than giving nothing.

Jesus loves many people who never appreciate His love. They do not even know He loves them; that He gives His very life for them. Jesus gives His all. Few of us have ever given our all.

Whatever you wish, give.