“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?’” (Luke 9:23-25)
The other day someone posed the question, “Would you die for your faith?” My immediate reaction was to dodge the question and topic, because my entire being is hardwired to hate and avoid the concept of death. Death is unnatural for us as humans, because it is not from God and it is not good. That being said, it is a reality and a constant. Ephesians reminds us that the “wages of sin is death,” and as sinners living in a sinful world, we must recognize that truth. Yet, it is equally important to remember the second part of the verse and its own truth, which says, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
As a Christian, the script is flipped and through Jesus I have the gift of eternal life with God. This changes everything! When Jesus speaks of denying one’s self daily and taking up your cross to follow Him, He is explaining that when we start to follow Him, we live differently. If we trust Jesus as Lord, then when it comes to daily decisions of where to invest our live – our money, our time, our relationships – we deny our own earthly “me” desires and instead trust and obey God’s heavenly “He” desires for our lives.
Having an eternal mindset will completely change how you face your daily life. This is a mindset that recognizes God as Lord and the most valuable treasure you could ever have or desire, both here on earth and in heaven. It will mean looking at each day and saying, “Thy will be done; Thy kingdom come,” which means losing the control of one’s life in order to save it. This seems like such an incredible sacrifice in our minds, but I challenge you to look closer at this and the Lord. The more you get to know Him, the more you will understand that this is far from a sacrifice. Truly knowing who He is will make having a relationship with Him worth far more than anything we could ever imagine.
In every decision, as Christians, we decide whether or not God is real by believing that what He has for our lives is better than what we want for our lives. It is truly a daily battle of trusting God not only with our eternities, but with our present realities as well. Paul discusses this battle between flesh and spirit in detail in Romans 7.
So in dealing with such a weighty topic, I encourage you as a believer to continue getting to know this amazing God we serve! Understand His heart, His purposes and His promises, and know that He is good and everything your heart could ever long for. In David’s words from Psalms 30:24, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
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