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Engage with Grand Canyon University's (GCU) vibrant Spiritual Life community and take a deeper look at the various ministries that are happening around the world, in your backyard and on our campus. From weekly devotionals to Chapel highlights and features that reflect God's work in the hearts of our students, staff and faculty, each article is presented by GCU's Spiritual Life team and our special guests. We hope that God will challenge and encourage you through His words and the stories about His people that inspire us all.
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Weekly Devotional: Letting Go and Letting God

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By Breanna Alverson
Life Leader

“Whoever wants to be my disciples must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)

When looking forward into the years of our lives, we tend to dream with rose-colored glasses. We see only comfort, happiness and blessings in cozy homes with ideal relationships, which are certainly not bad dreams. But what does it mean when Jesus calls his disciples and followers to deny themselves? Is this cruel or kind? Before we begin jumping to conclusions, we must first exam the identity and intention of the One who said these words so many years ago.

Jesus was explaining to his disciples, the 12 men closest to him in friendship and mentorship, that he would soon go to Jerusalem and suffer severely at the hands of the chief priests and elders of the law. He told them he would be killed and then raised to life on the third day, all according to God’s plan for redemption.

When Peter, one of his closest disciples, heard this, he had a fairly predictable reaction and rebuked the Lord saying, “This will not happen to you!” Jesus then challenged Peter to think beyond himself and human concerns but rather about the concerns and plans of God. Denying himself through dying to save the world was always Christ’s plan for our redemption and relationship, but was it part of Peter’s plan?

It became clear to Peter in this moment what following Christ could mean for his own life. He would have to imitate the same self-sacrificial love, even in the face of great suffering. This kind of love, commitment and obedience is frankly daunting because it is costly.

God calls us to give him our whole selves – our lives, our time and our dreams. But when submitting yourself to the love and authority to the only One whose love for you never falters, whose plans never fail and whose heart is for your well-being, it becomes a simple choice. In John 16:33, Jesus assures us of his victory, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have over-come the world.”

Letting go of the control to live our lives as we please and instead letting God into them and trusting Him as Lord over them is what it means to deny yourself and follow Him. It seems like such a sacrifice, but when we look at our lives on earth as mere blinks in comparison to the weight of eternity with Christ or look into the heart and intention of this Lord and Savior, it becomes clear that it is the safest decision we could ever make.

He is a Good Father! And though following Him means putting Him first in our lives, no matter the circumstances, it will always be more than worth it in the end. He came and died so that we could have life and life to the fullest. The more we get to know the Lord, the more we understand that He is the best thing for us. In this way, denying our own desires and putting Him first is not a sacrifice at all – it is a remarkable gift of freedom.

Grand Canyon University is founded upon and committed to biblical teachings. To learn more about GCU’s Christian identity and heritage, visit our website or click on the Request More Information button at the top of this page.

About Breanna Alverson
Business Administration Major, Colangelo College of Business

Breanna Alverson is junior at Grand Canyon University, currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in marketing. In the future, she hopes to be a marketing consultant for non-profit organizations. She loves serving people and has been blessed with the incredible opportunity to work with the Spiritual Life Department on campus as a Life Leader. Originally from Boise, Idaho, Breanna enjoys the outdoors and especially appreciates Arizona’s weather. Some of her favorite memories from this year involve camping, road trips, lakes, hiking, photography and Frisbee.

Read more about Breanna.