Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple 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. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:24-28
“…deny (yourself) and take up (your) cross and follow me,” this is the process of transformation. This is what carries the alcoholic into sobriety, the adulterer into faithfulness, the liar to walk in truth. The word for sinner in Greek is ‘amartolos,’ and it translates to “devoted to a life of wickedness.” But He asks us to deny ourselves, giving up our own desires for our life, to become devoted to Him and His purpose. Jesus gave all of His life for us; how could we not give Him all of ours in return? Isn’t it only selfishness to try to argue against the need to live for Him? Transformation occurs through honest repentance. Repentance isn’t just asking forgiveness, though; it means, in military terms, to do an about-face. You won’t hang out with the same people, you won’t go to the same places, and your life completely changes.
Transformation is a change of mind… a whole new mind. How do we walk out the life of a true Follower of Christ?
- “Deny yourself.” Lay down your life. Realize that it’s not about you, it’s about Him.
- “Take up your cross.” On a daily basis, you need to say no to your flesh.
- “Follow.” Now live it out, follow Jesus. Find a new world view. As Jonathan Edwards said, “Stamp eternity on my eyeballs.” Imagine how we would live if eternity was our world view.
- Hold on to the promise. The promise of his return. The promise of his reward. The promise of his kingdom.
Have you been living in religion, or in followership?
What are some people, places, and activities you can lay down in order to better follow