READ: Luke 9:18-36
THINK: What's your reputation? What are you known for? What do people think of when they see you or hear your name? Does your faith in Jesus have anything to do with it? When your identity gets so wrapped up in Jesus that when people think of you they think of Him--that's when your devotion likely has what it takes to endure. While you can't control other people's perceptions, you can demonstrate a passion for Christ that's difficult to deny. If you'll stake your reputation on Jesus, there's no limit to how He can use you to impact others' lives.
RESPOND: Why did Jesus warn His disciples not to tell people that He is "the Christ of God"? (See 9:21 note.) What does it mean for a follower of Jesus to "take up his cross daily"? (See 9:23 note.) What kinds of personal costs or sacrifices are associated with following and serving Jesus? How can your identity become wrapped up in your relationship with Jesus? What do crosses often symbolize to people today? How does this view differ from what the Cross represented for Christians in the early days of the Church? How does a person save his or her life by losing it? (See 9:24 note.) In what ways do people--even Christians--act ashamed of Jesus? (See 9:26 note.) How can you guard against this in your life? Why did Peter react as He did as He witnessed Jesus' transfiguration? What was wrong with Peter's request? What was the significance of this event? (See 9:29 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you lose your own identity in your relationship with Jesus. Ask Him for strength to endure rejection and suffering for Jesus. Pray that your life will give people an accurate impression of Jesus.
ACT: Every time you see a cross today, consider what it seems to represent to those who wear it, display it, or are associated with its display. Realizing that few people grasp what the Cross really means, every time you see one, give Jesus thanks for how He gave His life for you. Also, find a practical way you can identify with Jesus today through an activity or action involving other people, preferably people who do not know Christ yet.
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