"Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]." Matthew 16:24-25 AMP
Thoughts for Today
Striving for perfection solely by human effort can be a frustrating endeavor. We tend to load ourselves down with should's and should have's. I should do this or that. I should have done it this way. I should read my Bible more. I should be more loving.
We can also project this focus onto others: He should be more sensitive. She should be more respectful. They should be more open. That person should pay more attention to how he is driving.
When our focus is on human perfection, we can feel frustrated—and that frustration can build into resentment. Resentment can contribute to a critical and judgmental attitude toward self and others. This attitude can lead to bitterness and unforgiveness—not a pretty picture.
Consider this …
Do you engage in constant should's and should have's? Second-guessing what you have done and wishing you could do better? Do you focus on how imperfect you are? And how about your attitude toward others? Do you tend to stand in judgment?
We often want to hold onto our opinions about how the world should be and to get ourselves and everyone else in line with our way. But Jesus wants us to conform ourselves to His example. To follow Him.
Are there areas in your life where you find it difficult to let go of your way and follow Jesus' example? Jesus promises if you will trade your agenda for His, you will find true life.
Father, I know I tend to think my way is the only right way. I try to make myself perfect by my standards. I judge others because I expect them to be perfect—by my standards. Help me to conform to your standards. Help me to follow Your example. Help me to walk in love, not unrealistic expectations. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from …
Where is the Image of God in You? by Brad Rymer. The purpose of this study is for us to see how some of the different character traits we have can be used in constructive rather than destructive ways in our lives and relationships so that we are operating more and more in the image of God according to the way He created us. Also, this study can help us better understand others as we build godly relationships. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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