"Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
Do you have the passion to follow Jesus and be His disciple? If so, then Jesus tells us according to Matthew 16:24 that we must be obedient and follow a couple of things:
First, you need to deny yourself. In essence, this means that we are to die to ourselves. We are to deny ourselves. Deny means to say no to something, to reject, to refuse, to decline or turn something or someone down. When we “deny” ourselves it means that we refuse to gratify our own needs or desires. It means to put God’s will and desires above our own. Many people will find this outrageous and even offensive, especially those selfish in nature. And we all have a selfish nature…so this applies to everyone.
Second, you need to take up your cross to follow Jesus. If you saw someone walking through the city carrying a cross in Jesus’ day, it meant one thing: death was forthcoming and imminent. Are you willing to die to self? Are you willing to completely surrender your life to the Lord? Are you willing to accept God’s leading and will for your life as opposed to being in control and not submitting out of reverence to Christ? How you respond is crucial.
So what does it look like to deny ourselves and take up our cross? Can you carve out time to read your Bible when you get up in the morning? That is denying ourselves and taking up our cross. Can you carve out time to pray, even when your day is busy and hectic? That is denying ourselves and taking up our cross. Can you give God thanks, even in a public place? Can you speak up for Jesus Christ, even when it is uncomfortable? Can you act with integrity when nobody is watching you? Can you be regularly involved in the ministry at Sunrise Church? Can you give a financial offering to God? Can you put the needs of your spouse above your own? Can you put God first and yourself second? That is denying ourselves and taking up our cross.
And as we look around our world today, we see people who are self-absorbed. Comfort and self-centeredness are the norm. Many times it appears as though the Christian church and followers of Christ have become apathetic and lethargic…stagnant and undisciplined. Could it be that Christians are more concerned with comfort and don’t know that much about cross-bearing? Do we really carry our cross on a daily basis? Are we really dying to ourselves? Think about it…this is what Jesus is calling us to do.
Jesus said, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
Posted on Wed, October 15, 2014
by Sam Petitfils