Day 17

Allegiance to the King

from the The Kingdom of God reading plan

Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Luke 9:21-27, Luke 18:18-30, Philippians 3:20-21, 1 John 2:15-17

BY Bailey Gillespie

As followers of Jesus, our allegiance is to the King, and His kingdom is our priority. Submitting to Christ as King is an act of worship.

“If anyone wants to follow after me,” said Jesus to His disciples, “let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). 

Deny yourself. Ooph. It’s one of those statements that cuts straight into me. Nothing in me likes the thought of denying myself. It creates the feeling of lack and I don’t like to feel the cavernous growl any more than the unfulfilled desires of my heart.  

Reading today’s passages, I had to ask myself the honest question: as a follower of Jesus, what does it even mean to deny myself? Or pick up my cross? (After those first two, the questions kept on coming.) How do believers practice the kind of self-denial Jesus talked about without being doormats or shadows of who God created us to be? How do we avoid self-erasing and abuse, while, at the same time, also avoid idolizing self-care or, as my friend likes to put it, “building the kingdom of me”?

Our allegiance must be to our King. If you look at verse 25, Jesus also says, “For what does it benefit someone if he gains the whole world, and yet loses or forfeits himself?” (or “soul” as some translations say). Denying ourselves isn’t about losing our God-given identity. What Jesus is saying is that instead of going after our own agendas, we should seek first the kingdom.

To do this, we must look to Jesus again. In the full passage from Luke 9, Jesus isn’t talking about self-imposed pain in an effort to be holier. We weren’t called to be hermits or doormats without boundaries. But we are told to expect trials in our day-to-day lives and to face them head-on for the sake of our greater calling.  

As believers, our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). Even though it’s right and good to thank God for the many amazing gifts He gives us, we want to be careful about developing a love for the world and our own comfort over our love for Christ (1John 2:15). Instead, our devotion and allegiance should be to our first love. 

There will be days when we’re asked to give up a lot. A whole lot. There may be years that feel like we’re waiting for a harvest that isn’t coming. Life will require great endurance. That’s a promise. But there will also be beauty and the deep satisfaction of partnering with our King in His mission to redeem and restore our world. This is the tradeoff for denying ourselves and taking up our cross. We share in the sufferings of Christ, but we also get to share in the joy. Keep following Jesus, friends. It’s worth it. 

Post Comments (58)

58 thoughts on "Allegiance to the King"

  1. Lynn Walker says:

    Praying for you Diane and your son. May God fill you with peace and bless you as you serve your son. Praying for healing and strength in your son. May you sense His presence. In the precious name of Jesus our Jehovah Jireh.

  2. Churchmouse says:

    Living in contentment disarms the savage beast of entitlement. Denying myself is less a challenge when I acknowledge that all I have belongs to God and what I don’t have is also the Lord’s – to give or withhold as He sees fit.

  3. Laura B says:

    Anne you totally hit the nail on the head about self care. It’s been hijacked by the consumer driven culture we live in. Self care is intended to be a restorative daily practice that helps us feel grounded and connected to the present, not numb and forgetting of it. It would make sense then that it would be things like prayer and meditation on the Word, not a $300 spa day.

    I like what it says about denying our own agenda and seeking God’s. Man that’s hard. It is denying the self though in a major way.

  4. Diane Mom says:

    Please pray for is this morning. We were supposed to be on vacation, but our son is in the hospital and isn’t doing well. We need to care for his dog today too, and I am allergic. We’ve know our King is good and we have seen that over and over again. Pray we can bring His love and mercy and compassion into the hard situation we are facing today.

  5. Anne says:

    I loved this thought: “How do we avoid self-erasing and abuse, while, at the same time, also avoid idolizing self-care or, as my friend likes to put it, ‘building the kingdom of me’?”

    I’ve been considering the idea of self care recently, which is so prevalent in our culture today, perhaps especially for young moms. “You deserve it,” is the mantra. I do believe self care is necessary, but I believe the world’s perspective is lacking and incomplete.

    I believe self care in the kingdom of God must always be followed by a “so that.” We rest, so that we can serve more fully and more joyfully and with greater longevity. Jesus withdrew…so that He could come down to minister to the needy.

    Without a “so that,” self care can become simply hoarding our time and the best of ourselves, just as we can hoard our possessions or our talents.

    May our lives look radically different from our culture, which grasps frantically to hold on to the best for me, me, me. May we wholeheartedly follow the selfless example of our King, laying down our lives to love and serve Him and His people.

  6. Sydney S says:

    Through seasons of doubt and unknowing, the promise of the keys to the kingdom gets us through. But during the upswings, it is even more important to be both thankful for our earthly blessings while keeping our eyes on the ultimate prize – eternal fellowship with a benevolent father. Lord, help me to face my challenges without fear or doubt. Help me to focus on your promises and your faithfulness on the good days and the bad. Make me more like you and refine me. Amen

  7. Kelly says:

    STRUGGLING – He is our Waymaker Ps. 77:14

  8. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    The following can be difficult, especially when it involves “denying myself.” Thank goodness there is much joy found in knowing the Lord and knowing that what He offers (that none of the things I might want to blindly pursue without His blessing) is an eternal joy.
    Have a blessed Wednesday dear sisters. ❤️

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