Let him deny himself
[ Take Up the Cross and Follow Him ] Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
Let him deny himself
Then He said to them all,
if you read the gospel, Jesus mostly spoke very plain in a language that people can very easily understand. Many who saw Him working wonders, multiplying bread and fish, bringing back the dead--and all those miracles and signs, indeed, wanted to follow Him because they were seeing glorious things. But Jesus cautions them, saying:
“If anyone desires to come after Me,
After me--Jesus has a way of life. If anyone make his life after Jesus, the first condition
let him deny himself.
Our self is so full of self. We have our own desires, we have our own goals, we have our own motivations, we have our own ambitions--all these things that are not in line with Jesus' mission, cannot go hand in hand with this calling. And that is why he or she who desires to follow Jesus should be very clear that the first condition is to deny himself/herself. The totality of your personality, your self has to be denied.
and take up his cross daily--it's easy to say one day that "I want to follow Jesus" and deny. But as days pass by, it will definitely bring on our way a lot of cross, pain, uncomfort, suffering, and if you are enduring to follow Christ, you need to take up this cross daily. He's not saying one day, one week, one month, first 3 years. No: daily. And follow me.
Following Jesus is not an easy job. That is why many don't desire to follow Him. He goes on to say,
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it,
You cannot have your life and Jesus' life together. You are forsaking your life, your desire and your ambition. That you have to lose it. What will you get?
but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
Peter was asking. "Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. What will we get?" I remember Jesus telling him, "In this life, with suffering a hundredfold, and eternal life." (Mark 10:28, 30)
Suffering is an essential part of following Jesus. It is not a red-carpeted walk, rather, on the thorns we tread every day. But Christ is also walking along with us. He will give us comfort. If you are overladen, I will comfort thee. He will carry your pain, He will share your pain, and make you feel light. That's what He promised. If you still want to follow this Jesus, we have to deny ourselves. Let God's Spirit give us clear vision and conviction that we may follow Christ and save life.
Abba, Thank You for giving us the desire to follow Jesus. At times we fail, because we still hold on to self. Let Your Spirit make us carry the cross every day and cheerfully follow Jesus toward the victory He has achieved, the resurrected, the glorious life, of which we also have part when we walk along with Him. In Jesus' Most Powerful Name, Amen.