Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” –Matthew 16:24
Here is what grieves me, and I believe this also grieves the Holy Spirit: My hearers rise to this call emotionally, but they will not confirm it by a corresponding change in their way of life. Their goodness is like the morning clouds-by 9:00 o’clock the sun has burnt off the fog. This is what happens to many people’s good intentions. They rise emotionally to an urgent message that we become a New Testament church, that we become a model church, that we have the order of the New Testament and the power of the Holy Spirit in order that we might worship, work and witness. Emotionally they rise to it, but they will not confirm their emotions by corresponding changes in their way of life.
They want to be blessed by God, but they want God to bless them on their terms. They look pensively to God for victory, but they will not bring their giving into line. They will not practice family prayer, rushing off without it. They will not take time for secret prayer and will not forgive those who have wronged them. They will not seek to be reconciled to those with whom they have quarreled. They will not pick up their crosses and say, “Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee.” Rut, Rot or Revival: The Condition of the Church, 146-147.
“Lord, may my desire for You rise above emotions. I do want to be blessed of You, both personally and in my ministry. I commit myself this morning to a willingness to take my cross and follow You-and to take the necessary action to come on Your terms. Amen.”