It’s Day 8 and we’ve covered a lot of ground on our way to MORE! But it’s also already 2019 and I couldn’t help but wonder how many are really starting out the new year living the MORE life that Jesus died to give us.
I know I still have some areas I’m working on. How about you?
It’s easy to pacify ourselves with verses that seem more palatable, but we are women of the WHOLE WORD of GOD. Not just the verses we want to pick and choose.
That means sometimes we are going to come across some of the hard truths from Scripture. Today’s passage is one of those hard-truth kind of passages in God’s Word.
Take a look at it in both the NKJV and the Amplified.
|Matthew 16:24-27 (NKJV)|
24 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.25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
|Matthew 16:24-27 (Amp Classic)|
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity]. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory and majesty of His Father with His angels, and then He will repay each one in accordance with what he has done.
In general, this passage begins with a call to action, and explanation of that action, and then the reason for it.
Jesus begins by prefacing it with the phrase, “If anyone desires…”
That means, God gives us the freedom to choose whether we want to be disciples or not… whether we want to follow Jesus or not.
This is extremely more complicated than it seems. No one seeks after God unless God draws them. So, the drawing of the heart is something only God can do, but we have to respond to that drawing.
That’s true in salvation and that’s also true when it comes to obedience once we are saved.
We’ll cover this in detail during 2019 but for now, we need to understand the call do discipleship… to truly follow Christ, is a call that we have responsibility to answer.
Jesus puts it out there. He’s talking to His disciples as He instructs them that the call comes with a cost.
It’s a call to die.
You see, the cross Jesus is calling us to pick up is a death instrument. In fact, in Luke 9:23, Jesus gives us a timeframe for taking up our cross… daily.
It’s a daily call to die. To be the living dead.
- Choosing His will over ours.
- Choosing His plans over ours.
- Choosing His purposes over ours.
- Choosing His ambitions over ours.
- Choosing His work over ours.
- Choosing His ways over ours.
Choosing Him over us.
But the call isn’t to a blind faith that has no concept of why we are doing it. He explains that the person who chooses to hold on to their own lives will end up losing them anyway.
So, why would you hold on to what you’re going to lose?
Jim Elliot, missionary who was speared by the Auca Indians, said before he died…
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
He gave his life to give the Gospel to the Aucu Indians because he was willing to literally lose his life for Christ’s sake.
This passage is chock full of so much to learn and grow from, but I’m going to shift gears and focus on the purpose. The thing is, if I know the why behind the what, it makes doing the what much easier.
The why is found in verse 27. It says, “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”
They why is because one day, Jesus will come in the glory of His Father with the angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
Why do we need to give up our lives?
The simple answer is because when we give them up for Christ’s sake, we get Jesus and all He is and all He wants for us.
We don’t keep our eyes fixed on this world, we keep looking up knowing that one day, Jesus is going to split the eastern sky with His presence and we will see Him face to face.
So, we look up and die today because in dying today, we live forever.