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Today's Devotion (Sunday, Dec 21)

Day By Day By Grace - Bob Hoekstra (DBD)

Once More on Following Jesus as a Disciple

""If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me…My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." (Luke 9:23 and John 10:27)"
As we have seen, following Jesus as a disciple is another way to relate rightly to the Lord in humility and faith. Discipleship begins with renouncing the self-life and confessing death for the self-life. "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily." Initially and continually, these humble and trusting responses to Jesus deal with self, which is the basic obstruction to following Him. Ultimately, three simple words express the very heart of discipleship: "and follow Me."

All of the Christian life can be summed up and fulfilled in this profound relationship—a humble, dependent walk with the Lord. It is the will of God that we grow in His all-sufficient grace. "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). Jesus came overflowing with that grace. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). As we follow Him in humble dependence, He pours His grace into our lives.

Jesus has all that we need. In Him, the complete resources of the Godhead for our personal wholeness reside. "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him" (Colossians 2:9-10). In Him, all wisdom and knowledge are contained: "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). Jesus is the very life that we are called to live: "Christ who is our life" (Colossians 3:4). He is our "all and in all" (Colossians 3:11).

We need the Lord Jesus like sheep need a shepherd. In fact, our discipleship walk with Christ is portrayed in Scripture as sheep following a shepherd. Those who are in the world are like sheep without a shepherd. What a needy picture that is. "But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). Jesus, our shepherd, is the ultimate shepherd. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep" (John 10:11). Having died for us, our shepherd wants to lead us throughout our lives. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27). In humble dependence, we can hear His voice through His word and be led by His Spirit. Thereby, we enter into the fullness of the grace that God has for us during our pilgrimage here on this earth.
"Jesus, my Good Shepherd, I need You like a sheep needs a shepherd. I humbly trust You to lead me through life, pouring out upon me the fullness of Your grace, in Your wonderful name, Amen."