On Sunday morning, Kåre J. Smith began the meeting with these words of Jesus:
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”Luke 9:23-24
In connection with this, Smith expressed astonishment that there were so many people present in the meeting hall: – Does everyone here really want to follow Jesus?
Conditions for the promises
Jesus stated it as a condition, and he said it to everyone. People often seek material and earthly gain here in the world and hope to enter the kingdom of heaven in the end. But Jesus asked us to crucify the fleshly desires while we live here on this earth. And we have received precious promises of partaking in divine nature if we flee from the corruption in the world that comes from lust (2 Peter 1:3-4). This is an entirely new life – no earthly glory can compare to God sharing His nature with us.
Not a distant ideal
For those who live this life, it is not just fine words or a distant ideal. At one of the meetings, Gary Fenn from Connecticut, USA, shared how he experiences living crucified with Christ, as the Bible teaches us:
“All things become new for me.”
Romans 6:6 says that we know that our old self was crucified with Christ. Gary Fenn confirmed that many probably know this, but coming to know it in one’s own life is different:
“Then I automatically begin to seek heavenly things and not those on earth”, said Fenn.
Odette from Cameroon was also enthusiastic about the message. She shared this with the church in French, with translation into Norwegian. She started by thanking for all the encouragement and everything she has seen and experienced at the conference:
“God will help me, so everything I have heard here really helps me in my situations, and that I carry my cross and pay attention to myself”, she said.
“May God help me to use the words I have received and get help from heaven. I will return home to Cameroon full of gratitude, with the sun in my heart and mind, so that the friends in my local church can taste this.”