Mark 7-8 ~ Day 18 ~ Are God's concerns my concerns?
You know how today’s evangelists may say, “You only need to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you will be saved.”? I have heard that over and over again. In fact, I just heard it last week when I went “street witnessing” with a group of believers. One of the gals said just that thing to someone who didn’t know the Lord yet. She was referring to Romans 10:9, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
But, here is something to challenge one not to use “only” or “just say” in the sentence the gal used. One needs to remember that demons believe in God (James 2:19) and they confess that belief with their mouths (Mark 1:24), yet they aren’t saved!!
In today's reading the word “must” stood out to me. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)
Wow! Now that’s a whole different ball game! Demons certainly don’t do that!
I can see why evangelists don’t want to lead with that verse! It wouldn’t be very attractive for a nonbeliever to hear “deny yourself and pick up a thing that kills the body!! On hearing that, people would turn on their heels and run!
So, what does it mean to deny one’s self? Well, look at what Jesus said to Peter just prior to this verse. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (8:33) You can flip that to understand how to deny yourself. You must have the concerns of God in mind, not just your human concerns.
OK, God. Help me with that! Help me to keep the things in mind that concern you! Since you made it a “must” statement, I know the Holy Spirit will help me with that! (John 16:13)