by Bishop Kendrick Whaley
Have you ever wondered what it takes to live a Christian life or to have the life of Jesus living through you? Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” I believe the Christian life is lived with a passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ. Allow me to bring attention to the words “come after,” in the passage above. When Jesus said, “come after,” He was telling us to let our thoughts and energies be consumed by our desire to be in a relationship with Him. We should be motivated to pursue a passionate relationship with Jesus Christ because He pursued one with us when we were unworthy of His love.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” Romans 5:8. God took the initiative to “come after” us first. God put on flesh, came down to earth and died for our sins. When we understand the magnitude of His love toward us it will motivate us to pursue Him with the same kind of love. “We love him, because he first loved us,” 1 John 4:19.
The Christ-life does not come without getting rid of the self-life. It’s not simply about saying no to oneself, it’s about getting rid of self. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,” Galatians 2:20. We live in a culture today that says it’s all about oneself. It is impossible to “come after” without denying self.
Let’s focus on taking up our cross! Many have come to the cross but have yet to die on it. What is a cross for? It’s not just a burden to be borne; it’s an instrument of death and total sacrifice. Taking up your cross means the death of self. What you want no longer matters; what God wants with your life is what must be done with it. If you are indulging self, you are denying Christ. And if you are not acquainted with self-execution and self-denial, you are a stranger to Christ.
Stop carrying your cross and instead, get on it! Christian living is denying and dying to self, and living a life of total commitment to, and faith in, Jesus Christ. What we stand to gain in Christ is far greater than what we must lose for Christ.
About Bishop Whaley: Kendrick Whaley Sr. is married to Nicole McCoy Whaley and they have two children, Kendrick J. Whaley, Jr. and Tori A. Whaley. Kendrick attended World Harvest Bible College in Columbus, Ohio, under Pastor Rod Parsley. He continued his formal Christian education at Faith Christian University where he received an associate’s degree in Bible and theology. Under the leadership of the late Bishop J.W. Harrison and Presiding Elder, James Evans, he was appointed to serve the CCOG in various capacities including pastor in 2000, overseer in 2006, and in July 2010 he was appointed by the board to be the Bishop. He truly has a shepherd’s heart and it has shown in his care for God’s people. He desires to see souls saved and the body of Christ edified.