"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23
The best definition of discipleship that I have heard comes from Eugene Peterson, a prolific Christian writer and author of The Message translation of the Bible. He describes discipleship as "a long obedience in the same direction". Isn't that good? A long obedience in the direction of God and His Word and His will!
It sure fits with Jesus' call to His disciples here in this verse!
A disciple decides every day to aim his desires at God and shape his feelings, emotions and decisions around obeying Him. And then, the next day he awakes and does the same thing - and the next and the next and, well, you know. That is a "long obedience" in that direction.
A disciple daily chooses to deny himself of any desire, thought or habit that would tug the disciple in an opposite direction. Moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, he guards every thought and reigns in every action. And then the next day he awakes and does the same - and the next and the next and, well, you know. That is a "long discipline" in God's direction.
A disciple takes up his cross daily - not the necklace or the bracelet or the lapel pin - the one that hurts, the one that demands him to die to self and sin. The disciple doesn't actually carry his cross, he lays down on it and dies. He dies to self so Christ can live through him in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And then the next day he awakes and does it again. And the next day! And the day after that! That is what it means to die daily - a long obedience in God's direction!
As you begin this Thanksgiving Day, where will you aim your life? How will you direct your way? Who will you follow? Who will you please? What will you serve? Will you have to get back on course? Have you back tracked or strayed in another direction? Will you aim yourself in God's direction - again?