Luke 9:23,24 says, “ And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”
As I read these scriptures I wondered how it applies to today and to my life in general. Jesus is talking here to his disciples and telling them that they must be willing to follow him completely. He knew of a time when they would be persecuted and suffer many things for the name of Christ. He wanted them to trust in him no matter what came their way. As I thought about the time we are living in, I see how Christians are persecuted for believing in Christ. They are mocked and even killed today by those that deny the true Lord, Jesus Christ. In the day we are living in, many are turning from the true gospel. They are more concerned with status or what others think of them. Larger churches are changing their doctrines to serve man and not God. People are running to and fro looking for a church to appease them because they do not want to hear the truth… The truth is that sin is sin and they must repent from their sin.
Then I looked at how the scripture applied to my life. I see that Jesus wants us all to have a personal commitment to him and to serving him. We must not waver, we must not alter our beliefs for others, we must stand strong in him. When I look at how wickedness abounds all around us, I see where we might have to take a personal stance for our beliefs. This evil is not going away and it is increasing in our lands. When Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me,” I see that it is personal to me and to each and every man, woman and child. He said, “If any man….” He wasn’t talking about a group of men but to ‘any man’. That means we must deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow him. Deny your cares for this life, deny those friendships that stand in the way of you and Jesus, deny worrying about self, deny the worldly pleasures of this life, deny those selfish times when you want to sit back and be quiet, when you need to speak.
We need to surrender our life completely for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That might mean to walk away from a great job to do God’s service….That might mean to do without a life of luxury for a life of poverty. Jesus lived a life of poverty when he was here. He never told his disciples to seek after riches of this life. They didn’t live wealthy but humble lives. Are you willing to live a humble life like Jesus’ disciples did? If not, then you are not completely surrendered to him. I didn’t say go and sell all that you have and give to the poor, although Jesus might ask you to do that one day. I said to surrender to whatever Jesus tells you to do. Allow him to lead and direct your life in all things. Allow him to be your Shephard and take up your cross daily. You might have to suffer persecution, a life of poverty, or being alone. Your family might turn away from you and you might have no one in your life, except Jesus. Are you willing to take up your cross and follow Jesus or are you going to hide somewhere where you don’t have to do anything for the gospel.
As I read this chapter of scripture I came to the last verse which reads, “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” This not only means those that turn from serving Christ but those that quit serving Christ. We are not to take our hand off the plough but keep them steady and moving forward.
1 Corinthians 15:58-Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Matthew 19:29-And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Matthew 10:32-Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Matthew 10:21,22-And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Matthew 25:31-33- When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. (I encourage you to read the whole chapter).