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)
The very first line from David Crowder’s latest cd "A Collision" starts with the line; "Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die."
Ask anybody on the street if they think they are going to heaven and the majority of the people will say yes. Boy! Are they in for a shock! To most people death is a mystery and it brings them a lot of fear. It is the unknown. The only assurance we have of being with God in the afterlife is through Christ and Christ alone. He conquered death and the grave. No one has ever done that. But there is a cost in recognizing His sacrifice and declaring Him to be your Lord. It is death. Death to yourself and your desires. All your hopes and dreams must die.
I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it, but anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. [Whoever has no love for, no concern for, no regard for his life here on earth, but despises it, preserves his life forever and ever.] John 12:24-25 (Amplified Bible)
Dying to yourself is not an easy task. He wants your heart because the heart is our seat of all our desires. He wants to sit upon that seat. It requires trust. It requires surrendering.
Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honour your father and your mother.’"And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth." Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible." Then Peter began to say to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You." So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first." Mark 10:17-31 (NKJV)
The real issue with the rich young rule was not his riches but his heart. Was he willing to die to all he possessed? The riches were tied to his heart. Matthew 6:21 says; For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. That treasure could be anything. It could be your family, job, possessions or many other things. Christ alone has to be your treasure. Christ alone needs to rule over your heart. But to surrender your treasure and die to your desires means gaining much more than this world could ever provide for you. Through dying, you find life, abundant life. Jesus told Peter that anyone who gives up the treasures of this such as family and possessions (giving up them having first place in your heart) would find a hundredfold blessing. It just takes trust and a child like heart.
How much trust do you put in Christ? Are you willing to surrender all to Him? A while ago our pastor gave a very good example using some of the students in our school. He told them to stand with their backs facing him. He then told them when he was behind them to fall backwards. Some didn’t because they were afraid. Those who trusted were caught before they hit the ground. That is what keeps many of us form receiving the blessings that God has for us. Fear. Fear of losing everything and winding up with nothing. The funny thing is that fear is the one thing that will cause you at the end of your life to wind up with nothing. God has never failed once in His promises. He is not about to start with you. Are you willing to die today so that you may find life and that life more abundantly?