A Christian must learn to pick up their cross (the symbol of our death to self) daily and follow Jesus – 24/7…
Jesus speaking: “
For what is the use of a man gaining the whole world if he loses or forfeits his own soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him, when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels.
I tell you the simple truth—there are men standing here today who will not taste death until they have seen the kingdom of God!’”
(Luke 9:23-26 – JB Phillips Translation)
The Winning Way
GIVE YOURSELF FIRST
Paul held up the Christians at Macedonia as an example to his Corinthian friends. The Macedonians (who had little) had given liberally to the Jerusalem church…and the Corinthians (who had much more) had promised aid, but done nothing. But Paul’s most convicting description of these generous believers was not about money, but about heart. “They first gave themselves,” he said.
God is not honored when we “tip” Him with our money but withold from Him our selves. The gift without the giver is bare. Those Macedonian givers climbed into the offering plate with their gift. They didn’t just nod at God with a few coins…they put their very lives at His disposal. What a radical act of faith! Jesus illustrated this best when He instructed His disciples to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…and to God the things that are God’s.” Well, what is God’s? We are!
Jesus picked up a coin to drive home His point, saying, “Whose picture is on this coin?” They answered the obvious: “Caesar’s.” What has God’s picture on it? You and I do. We are made in the image of God, and His picture is etched on your life and mine in an indelible way. When we give ourselves along with our gifts, our offering is sacrificial, spontaneous and spiritual. And we can be sure that God is honored by it.
II CORINTHIANS 8:5
And this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us.
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