Jesus loves me, this I know

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I knew it

p / Image of man “thinker” in Picasso style
/ I remember being a teenager and struggling with the call to follow Jesus. I knew following Jesus was no casual, ordinary path, that it was the single most important decision of my life.
/ I remember considering, weighing what a commitment to faith meant
/ I knew this truth
If I was going to follow Jesus, something within me had to die.
Luke 14:27 NRSV
Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
/ I had to rethink the meaning of life, knowing it meant voluntarily taking up the cross daily and being led by Jesus.
Matthew 8:20 NRSV
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
/ I knew I had to rethink what “home” meant, and this concept had to grow broader and more ambiguous. Home would be any place God put me to serve, any place Jesus was wanting me to do his will and his work
/ As I sensed a call to vocational ministry, I knew the Lord was leading me in a specific direction that involved seminary, educational and spiritual formation. You will probably have different scriptures that speak to you, and reveal something of God’s plan for your life. But one stuck out for me, and try though I might I’ve never really been able to shake it:
Matthew 28:16–20 NRSV
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
If I was going to follow Jesus, something within me had to die.

We know it

/ We know that following Christ is a big deal, that we say “No” to many things so that we can say “Yes” to the Lord. We recognize
Matthew 7:14 NRSV
For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
When Christ calls a man he bids him come and die.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
We die to sin and live by and for God
++We die to our own wills and live to do God’s will
++We die to self-reliance and live trusting fully in God
++We die to pride and live with humility and gentleness
++We die to the world and live for the Kingdom
p / woman deep in thought
p / man deep in thought / prayer

Hear the scriptures

“I have been crucified with Christ.”
++“It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”
++“I live by faith in the Son of God”
When something within us dies, God fills the void by giving us his own life.
Colossians 1:27 (NRSV)
Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Galatians 2:20 (NRSV)
[I]t is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me...
p / Stained glass image of Jesus, inviting
/ In God’s narrative death is followed by resurrection.
/ We surrender “the flesh,” putting to death something but knowing that Christ lives in us!!
/ And who is this Christ?
The Son of God, “who loved me and gave himself for me.”
p / The apostle Paul, smiling, writing
Jesus loves you
++Jesus gave himself for you

Crucial questions

What do you need to put to death to make room for God’s life in you?
++What fears can you set aside because you know the Son of God loves you and gave himself for you?

A reason for gratitude

It’s a basic statement of faith in Christ: “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
p / Christ in stained glass
/ Make no mistake: The Lord calls for us to surrender our whole selves.
/ But when that which needs to be put to death dies, the life of Christ fills us.
/ And the one who fills us loves us, and gave himself for us
Jesus loves me, this I know.
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