In my thoughts lately I have been thinking about the scripture in Mathew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”As I’m thinking on this scripture, I’m thinking on the importance of us as believers to deny, take up and follow. Below are some points to consider about this verse.
Deny Himself: Just imagine having something that was of great value, desire and want to you. When we have those things we want to hold onto it and never let go. What is Mathew 16: 24 talking about when it says whoever comes after Christ must deny himself? As human beings we can sometimes get caught up in self when we are walking in our flesh. It’s no wonder why when many things on the television, internet and in this world tries to feed our selfish appetites. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing wrong with having wonderful things and doing things we enjoy, but there comes a time when we must deny ourselves. That’s not always easy to do! Denying self to be obedient to the will and call of God is something every child of God has to work on daily. So really it’s not about us, but about what Jesus is leading, guiding, directing, telling and showing us to do. This sometimes requires us to put our feelings and wants to the side and take up God’s desires and will.
Take up his cross: When we think of the cross we often think of Jesus’ suffering, pain and sacrifice for us all. But what does it mean to take up our cross for Christ? I believe it means laying down our own lives to surrender completely to the Lord. Simply yielding to the will of God and dying to self. Again society constantly puts out “get your life” and you can do whatever feels right to do. Does that mean we must give up our very own lives for the One who gave up His for us? Absolutely! Each day requires a giving up to the Lord. Giving up selfish pleasures, selfish pursuits and selfish desires. That’s where we take up our cross.
Follow Me: Following Jesus requires us to hear His voice and do His will. In John 10: 27 Jesus says “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” When we belong to Jesus we must listen out for His voice and then do what He says. He speaks to us in His Word, in our prayer and devotion times, situations and sometimes through other people.
What are your thoughts on Mathew 16: 24? What does denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Jesus mean to you?