The Choosing of Christ
This devotional was written by Jim Burns
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” —Mark 8:34
Dan worked in the inner city of Chicago. He dedicated his life to helping poor kids find meaning through Jesus Christ. Dan had a friend, Enrique. At 13, Enrique had never been out of the city and he belonged to a gang. Enrique never knew who his father was, and his mother wasn’t citizen of the year.
Dan took Enrique and three other boys to Wisconsin for a weekend Christian retreat. Enrique had never been to church before. When he heard that god loved him unconditionally not for what he did but for who he was—a child of God—Enrique jumped at the chance to become a Christian. Dan was excited.
When the group traveled home from the camp, Dan noticed Enrique looked very nervous. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Tonight I have to run the gauntlet,” was Enrique’s reply.
“What do you mean?” Dan asked.
“Basically, I’m going to get beat up real bad.”
“What are you talking about, Enrique?”
“When you leave a gang, the gang members line up on both sides in a row with clubs, bats, rings, and their fists. You run the gauntlet and they give you a beating you’ll remember the rest of your life.”
“Why do you have to run the gauntlet tonight?”
Enrique looked at Dan and matter-of-factly said, “Dan, I can’t have Jesus and the gang. I’ve decided I want Jesus more than I want to be in the gang.”
1. What inspires you about Enrique’s newfound faith in Christ?
2. What specifically does it mean to your life to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ?