April 28, 2012

Following Faithfully

Matthew 16:13-28

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
—Matthew 16:24


What is faith?

A simple definition is that faith is belief and trust in Jesus—as your Savior from sin and as the Lord over all things.

Some people describe it using the acronym FAITH: “Forsaking All, I Trust Him.”

Many believers have memorized the description in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

At a crucial point in Jesus’ ministry, Peter declared faith in Jesus as “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

But Jesus makes clear that we must also show our faith by following him. He says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” That is utterly shocking, when we stop to think about it. Jesus is saying, “If you want to follow me, you must be ready to be crucified.”

In his book The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer makes a similarly startling statement: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

Do we really believe that following Jesus is worth giving up everything else? If so, we must strive to follow him faithfully.

Jesus, we confess that often we are glad to call you Savior, but we do not always count the cost of your claim on our entire lives. May we understand daily that it is in dying to ourselves that we truly live for you. Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!