“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

Mark 8:34-35

Have you ever taken the time to consider what Jesus is saying? When He talks about us denying ourselves, & taking up a cross & following Him – what does that mean?

The cross calls us to self-denial; when Jesus speaks of self-denial, He is not merely speaking of denying oneself a pleasure or comfort in life; on the contrary, it goes much deeper than that. Jesus is telling us that we can no longer be the center of our lives. The Bible tells us that “taking up a cross” is voluntary. Jesus calls us and challenges us, but it is our decision.

Cross-bearing is an act of love that we freely choose. It is a task that we undertake, a price that we pay out of love, for Jesus it meant going to a cross to die because He loved us so much He could do nothing else. It means reaching out to people who are unlovable and unlovely who may never return the love and yet we are to keep on loving because that’s what Jesus did.

It means taking the love of God to the very ends of the world. To touch the lives of people who are unlovable. It means denying & sacrificing. It means paying the price regardless of the hardships we must endure.

The cross calls us to understand the reality of eternity; if we love our lives more than Christ then we have no hope of salvation. The idea here is that if we were threatened with death unless we denied Christ, and we denied Christ to save our lives, we lose our hope of eternal life. If we love Christ more than our lives then we have the assurance of salvation. Following Christ without reservation will lead us to eternal life.

We’re running around frantically piecing together our lives, trying to build homes and stockpile possessions but one day it’s all going to be gone. It’s going to burn up, disappear and count for nothing, and the only thing that’s going to last is the cross that we have borne for Jesus.

Garment of Praise

Monthly Insights for Spiritual Growth, Encouragement and Personal Victory.

Oluyemisi Onanuga

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible.

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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