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What if I am not tough enough to deny myself, take up cross & follow?

Discussion in 'Struggles by Non-Christians' started by Bob8102, May 13, 2022.

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  1. Bob8102

    Bob8102 Member

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    What then?
     
  2. chilehed

    chilehed Veteran

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    That you are capable of formulating the question proves that you aren't such a person.
     
  3. Confused-by-christianity

    Confused-by-christianity Well-Known Member

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    My opinion here -
    You have to grow spiritually.
    Growth is a long process.
    There are no quick solutions.
    No cheats or short cuts.
    It takes time and experience.
    We also have to consistently over time try to direct our will towards trying to grow.

    God will do His bit, so no need to worry about that, all you can do is try.
    When you fail, rise up and try again. (Just keep doing that) ;-)
     
  4. Hammster

    Hammster Good lookin’ Christian Nationalist Staff Member Site Advisor Supporter

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    On your own, you are not and never will be. We can’t give to God until we receive from God.
     
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  5. Bob8102

    Bob8102 Member

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    It is notable that Jesus talked to different people different ways. To the Pharisees, He said, 'You hypocrites! You sons of the devil! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? To the rich young ruler, He said, 'Sell all that you have and give it to the poor; you will have treasure in heaven. Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me.' To the woman at the well, He said, 'If you knew the gift of God and who I am, you would have asked Me and I would have given you living water.' To the woman who spread ointment on His feet, He said, "Go your way; your faith has saved you." Of the tax collector, in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, He said the tax collector said, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" Then He said, "this man went down to his house justified." Of the man from another town, whose son he healed with a thought, when he found out the next day that the fever had left his son at the same time Jesus had said, "Your son lives," it is said, "Then he believed and his whole household." Jesus did not say anything about a cross to these other people. One can assume the same requirement was true for them as well.

    I don't know what Jesus would say to me if we were to have a verbal conversation. I have long believed the Gospel, including the part about how I am a hell-deserving sinner. But in counting the cost, I am not sure I am willing to pay the cost. I have religious OCD. I have had many "sincere" moments of conversion to Christ. But my concentration on submitting to Him only lasts a couple of seconds at a time. I therefore am always doubting my salvation. Maybe I just said words but I was not born again?
     
  6. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    FWIW none of us measure up to that; yet, we must do that. God's continuing grace keeps giving and forgiving. He remembers we are but dust. None of us is tough enough.

    I'm not saying to forgive yourself, and not worry about it— just as the Bible says, he will convict you and you have every reason to doubt yourself —don't we all?— and it also says that you will feel separated from God until you repent of disobedience —but you will look back at times and realize it was not you who accomplished anything, but God who did it all. Toughness also comes from God.

    In the end, everything from Regeneration and Faith, Repentance and Obedience, Growth and Integrity, and every virtue, are from God, because of God, and for God. You are being given the grace of being his vessel —I like to say, "He even lets me watch!"

    This life is not about you, but about Christ.
     
  7. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I really like your first paragraph. Many, if not most, christians don't take the fact into account that God speaks to different people in different ways, when they go to preaching or 'convicting' others with what they see as important. But I have to live up to my own standard just as do they.

    Anyhow, I wanted to say, that I spent years in my version of what your second paragraph describes. And the only thing that pulled me out of it was to come to KNOW that it all depends on Christ, and not on me. Without him, we can do nothing. But we must do, regardless. Looking back we will see it was him doing it all along.
     
  8. d taylor

    d taylor Well-Known Member

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    -​
    What are you seeking when you take up your cross.
     
  9. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do you know what Jesus Christ of Nazareth was talking about?
    Unconditional love.
    Blessings
     
  10. Bob8102

    Bob8102 Member

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    Is there something you have to "do" every moment to maintain your salvation? What if you do it for five years and then stop? What if you do it for five months and then stop? Five hours? Five seconds?
     
  11. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You mean stop loving your Creator?
     
  12. Aussie Pete

    Aussie Pete Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No one is that good. Lord Jesus could not carry His physical cross, He was too weakened by the torture inflicted by the Romans. God knows our weaknesses. So God gives us a new nature, one that is of God Himself. Then Jesus comes to live inside the new person. Carrying our cross is only possible after we are born again, and that only by God's grace. Jesus is well able to enable us to deny ourselves.

    Is there something we must do? Yes. Believe.
    John 6:28 Then they inquired, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” 29 Jesus replied, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.”
     
  13. Bob8102

    Bob8102 Member

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    Not only did Jesus talk to different people different ways, but different people have different types of conversions. The apostle Paul was confronted by a bright light from heaven and he fell to the ground, possibly with his face in the dirt. But then there was the conversion of Josh McDowell, as recorded in a gospel tract I have. He said he became a Christian at 8:30 PM on a particular night. He says: 'I prayed three things that night to establish a relationship with the resurrected, living Christ, Who has since transformed my life. First, I prayed, "Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for me." Then I prayed, "I know there are things in my life which are not pleasing to You. I ask You to forgive and cleanse me." Third, I prayed, "Right now, in the best way I know how, I open the door of my heart and life and I trust You as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for coming into my life by faith." After I prayed, nothing happened. There was no bolt of lightning. I even said to myself, "Oh no! What'd I get sucked into now?" I thought I had gone off the deep end. And some of my friends agreed. But in the months following, I found I had not gone off the deep end. For one thing, I finally found mental peace. And I gained control of my temper. And old hatreds were gradually turning to love.'

    I know that I have a tendency to be angling for an easy believism answer. But I know easy believism is wrong. I am aware that faith without works is dead. I know what kind of lives Christians are supposed to live.

    What kind of conversion will I have? Have I already had it? Or will I never be converted?
     
  14. Bob8102

    Bob8102 Member

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    Not only did Jesus talk to different people different ways, but different people have different types of conversions. The apostle Paul was confronted by a bright light from heaven and he fell to the ground, possibly with his face in the dirt. But then there was the conversion of Josh McDowell, as recorded in a gospel tract I have. He said he became a Christian at 8:30 PM on a particular night. He says: 'I prayed three things that night to establish a relationship with the resurrected, living Christ, Who has since transformed my life. First, I prayed, "Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for me." Then I prayed, "I know there are things in my life which are not pleasing to You. I ask You to forgive and cleanse me." Third, I prayed, "Right now, in the best way I know how, I open the door of my heart and life and I trust You as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for coming into my life by faith." After I prayed, nothing happened. There was no bolt of lightning. I even said to myself, "Oh no! What'd I get sucked into now?" I thought I had gone off the deep end. And some of my friends agreed. But in the months following, I found I had not gone off the deep end. For one thing, I finally found mental peace. And I gained control of my temper. And old hatreds were gradually turning to love.'

    I know that I have a tendency to be angling for an easy believism answer. But I know easy believism is wrong. I am aware that faith without works is dead. I know what kind of lives Christians are supposed to live.

    What kind of conversion will I have? Have I already had it? Or will I never be converted?
     
  15. Bob8102

    Bob8102 Member

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    Not only did Jesus talk to different people different ways, but different people have different types of conversions. The apostle Paul was confronted by a bright light from heaven and he fell to the ground, possibly with his face in the dirt. But then there was the conversion of Josh McDowell, as recorded in a gospel tract I have. He said he became a Christian at 8:30 PM on a particular night. He says: 'I prayed three things that night to establish a relationship with the resurrected, living Christ, Who has since transformed my life. First, I prayed, "Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for me." Then I prayed, "I know there are things in my life which are not pleasing to You. I ask You to forgive and cleanse me." Third, I prayed, "Right now, in the best way I know how, I open the door of my heart and life and I trust You as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for coming into my life by faith." After I prayed, nothing happened. There was no bolt of lightning. I even said to myself, "Oh no! What'd I get sucked into now?" I thought I had gone off the deep end. And some of my friends agreed. But in the months following, I found I had not gone off the deep end. For one thing, I finally found mental peace. And I gained control of my temper. And old hatreds were gradually turning to love.'

    I know that I have a tendency to be angling for an easy believism answer. But I know easy believism is wrong. I am aware that faith without works is dead. I know what kind of lives Christians are supposed to live.

    What kind of conversion will I have? Have I already had it? Or will I never be converted?
     
  16. Bob8102

    Bob8102 Member

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    Sorry that that somehow got posted 3 times. It's a technical glitch.
     
  17. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    Great question!!

    The answer for all of us once we come to faith, including the 'strong' or 'disciplined' (or 'tough') ==>

    We listen to Him and learn to stop relying solely on only ourselves (alone) to do the higher good things (through only our own willpower alone).

    Instead, we all must (not just some) listen to Christ (more fully) to become more able to begin doing as He says to do:

    1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

    5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.



    We can do "nothing" of the ultimate lasting good (the deeper kind that alters lives permanently) without it being from Him.

    He tells us to keep our "eyes on" Him, "abide" with Him, "remain on the Vine", from hour to hour, so that we can bear that fruit (the better kind).

    The fruit "that lasts" (does not merely do a temporary good, but a lasting good).

    To do the 'hard' things, to bear good fruit that lasts, to dwell in Christ, remember His words, look to Him, keep your gaze on Him, keep Him central in your mind.

    For example, remember how He has forgiven you, in order to forgive the hard to forgive things that others do to you.

    Let's now dwell with Him by listening with all of our heart to all His words in this passage...


    6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

    9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

    12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.


    13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

    John 15 NIV
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2022
  18. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    No, it's not a constant effort. It's more whether you keep your "eyes on Him", so that you are heading in the right direction.

    Sometimes we each will stumble, look away...say, like this --

    ========

    22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

    25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

    27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

    28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

    29 “Come,” he said.

    Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

    31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

    Matthew 14 NIV

    He saves us over and over, if we look back to Him, call on Him, in faith. We stumble when we look away from Him too long (and sometimes too long is just seconds).

    But if we turn back to Him, He will take our hand.
     
  19. Shadowkat

    Shadowkat New Member

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    I think I like that: “an easy believism answer”. What exactly do you mean by that? I have a personal philosophy that says ‘if a teacher or theologian can’t explain a spiritual principle to a six year old so that they understand it, then the teacher doesn’t actually understand the principle’.
     
  20. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cute, but not exactly accurate. On the other hand, I know more than one six year old that have a better mind for organizing the intangible than many adults.

    What I think may be more accurate, is to say that if a spiritual principle is essential to faith, a six-year old can be taught it. Some obviously will not be, just as some adults won't get it, but not because of a lack of intellectual capacity.
     
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