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
The way of the cross is a lifestyle where we put others before ourselves and put God’s Word and His principles first and centre in our lives. In this verse above, if anyone desires to come after Me (Jesus), if anyone commits to follow Christ and live how He lives, let him deny himself, that is to put oneself second to Jesus’ authority and to rule in one’s life. Not only that, but the call is also to take up your cross, and follow Me. This is big talk that requires a big walk of surrender and dedication to Jesus and His Word.
When it comes to taking up your cross, it is not about having a heavy burden placed on you, but it is about:
- Surrendering ourselves completely to Him
- Identifying with Him in His suffering and death
- Following Him obediently consistently wherever He leads
We shouldn’t have the attitude, what can God do for me, but what can I do for Him? For some, this is a mindset shift. An excellent truth to meditate on to help with this mindset shift is what Christ has already completed on the cross for our sins, the extreme lengths that Jesus has gone to in order to redeem the whosoever for all life and all eternity.
The verse continues whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. What does it mean to lose your life for Christ’s sake?
If you lose your life for Christ’s sake, your motivation is no longer living for yourself but for Christ and His ultimate purposes. Losing your life to Jesus, in other words, is giving your entire life to Jesus, your dreams, your desires, your time, your finances, your whole self to Him. In doing that, you will find real life, lasting life. Think of the difference a group of people ‘all out for Jesus’ could make in homes, schools, secular society, workplaces and their communities.
The challenge the Matthew 16:24-25 scripture gives us today is, are you denying yourself and taking up your cross? We are not out to please people, but we are called to please God. When we profess to be Christian, people will watch us. How much of Jesus do you show through your life daily by taking up your cross and following Him?
Lord Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for enduring the cross for the joy that lay before You. Lord, I desire to follow You. Help me deny myself and take up my cross as I seek Your Kingdom and righteousness first and pursue You my Lord and Saviour. Amen