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"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24, NASB)
I heard this story from my pastor, Peter Hiatt.
In 331 B.C. Alexander the Great marched towards India with his armies. Alexander had already conquered much of the known world, and he would stop at nothing to have it all. Alexander was a strong leader, and every soldier was willing to follow him, no matter what the cost.
Alexander the Great had a strong campaign to take over the world, yet encountered some difficulty upon the arrival at a certain walled city. As Alexander approached the great city, he peered up towards the King who stood firm upon the stone wall and shouted: "My name is Alexander the Great, and I demand you surrender immediately!" Laughing, the King asked, "Why should we surrender to you?" He then proceeded to explain how they outnumbered Alexander's troops, and they were more than prepared to defend the city.
In response, Alexander turned to his 100 choice troops and commanded them to line up in perfect order facing the cliff. Each did so obediently in respect for their leader. Alexander then ordered them to start moving. One by one they began marching toward the edge of the cliff. The first soldier stepped off the cliff and pummeled to his death, as did the second, third, fourth , all the way until the eleventh man.
When Alexander finally yelled, "HALT!", he gazed back at the King who was completely astonished by the obedience of the men-and the utter respect they had for Alexander. He surrendered immediately, and Alexander went on to conquer the civilized world.
This King surrendered because of the power of obedience!
Wow! Can you even imagine what would happen to the world if all of us who claim to be true followers of Christ would display the same obedience in our own lives? What if we were as passionate for the cause of Christ as the followers of Alexander the Great were for conquering the world? What a difference we could make! What an example we could be!
In Matthew 16:24 Jesus says,
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."
The question is: are you willing? Are you willing to surrender your own plans to follow Him? Are you willing to lay down your life every day and be set apart from this world for the sake of the Gospel?
One man challenged his small group by saying: "The world has yet to see what God could do through one man fully surrendered to the cause of Christ." Another man replied by saying, "By God's grace I will be that man!" He was William Booth, some of you may know that William went on to become the founder of the Salvation Army! He was just an ordinary man, that gave God full control of his life, and he did something extraordinary!
Absolute obedience to God is the hardest thing you will ever do, because it requires you to be radically different than everything the world says. You must be separate from it in the way you think, act and talk. In involves boldly sharing a message others may reject and being 100% sold out for Christ, even when others may look down upon you.
God is calling us to take our faith to the next level, and become more serious about our commitment to follow hard after him. It's time to pick up that cross and go for it! This is a serious commitment that should not be taken lightly, so once you claim yourself as a Christian, be on your guard and do nothing that will ruin your witness. Read your Bible, pray, go to church, and be absolutely obedient to His call on your life! Then wait and watch and God does amazing things through the power of your obedience. You may never conquer a city like Alexander the Great, but remember, you are a soldier in God's army, and He desire's your obedience so He can begin changing the world through you!
Lord, I know the commitment to follow you could cost me everything, but Lord, I understand the importance. Help me to obey your commands and lead me in the direction you would have me go. Jesus, "teach me to die, that You might live and reign inside this heart of mine (words by Telecast)."
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