Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].
For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. Matthew 16:24-25 (Amplified Bible)
Tough words. Especially because of much of the teaching that goes on around in Christian circles today. In many churches it’s all about receiving a blessing and because Christ suffered for you, you don’t have to suffer. What a lie from hell. In Christ we have no choice. In order to live we must die because it’s in the dying we live. We must die to all our desires. All the things we want to do. Every passion and every longing has to die. Every single thing that would try to raise it’s self in importance over Christ has to perish.
You see it’s not about you and your comfort or your lack thereof. It’s all about Jesus and bringing His love to this lost and dying world. And yet we worry over such trivial things. We try to meet needs that Christ said He would fill. In the early days of the church the believer’s focus was not on the pleasures of this world but on the promise of the life that awaited them after this short life was over. The realization that eternity with Christ meant much more than this blink of an eye could ever matter.
Jesus promised that if we would obey Him He would take care of our every need. He said in Matthew 6:25-34
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
What Christ asks of you is that you live for Him and not this world. A life that is surrendered to Him shines brightest in this dark world. Our every waking moment and thought should be on Christ and winning the lost to Him.
Some of us want heaven on earth. It’s not going to happen. The bible makes it very clear that because He suffered, you will suffer as well. This world will hate and despise you as much as it did Him. Many of us when we suffer we say; "Why me?" Why not you? Are you greater then Christ? Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18;
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
I have suffered a lot in my life and so many of you have suffered as well and yet all that we have suffered is nothing compared to what our Saviour suffered for us. We have nothing to complain about. Our hope my brothers and sisters is in Christ alone and if the path that He choses for us to follow is one of suffering for His name, then we should gladly follow. What awaits us is beyond our imagination. Think today on heaven and the New Jerusalem, your true home. Daddy’s waiting there to take you in His arms.