“Then Jesus said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?’”
(Luke 9:23-25, NLT).
(Luke 9:23-25, NLT).
Jesus told the crowd that being his disciple would mean turning away from self, taking up a cross, and then following him. The initial decision to “follow” Jesus is an eternal life-changing decision. From that point, the believer is no longer his or her own; that person belongs to Christ. You’re no longer yourself, you belongs to Christ. But recognizing and confessing belief in Jesus as the Messiah is only the beginning of discipleship. True disciples actively follow Jesus “daily.” This means taking his road of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Jesus walks ahead, providing an example, and he stands with his followers as encourager, guide, and friend.
But believers must be willing to make the pursuit of God more important than the selfish pursuit of pleasure, giving up the goal of gaining “the whole world.” Those who follow Jesus will discover what it means to live abundantly now and to have eternal life later. K.P. Yohannan in his book Living in the Light of Eternity, writes, “With life in Christ, my self is no longer the one that directs me and dictates to me. Now it is Christ, His will and His desire, living and acting through me. Jesus had asked us to love Him supremely, more than anything or anyone. But the questions still remain: How do we follow Christ? How do we live out this life? This can only happen through an all-out surrender of ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. It means acknowledging the lordship of Christ in our lives, not just in theory but in practice. This is why the habit of compartmentalizing our lives must end. All of me, all that I am, belongs to Christ.”
Think about this: Giving up the “world” to gain Christ is like exchanging sands for golds! Yet many prefer the bad deal, trading the pleasures of this life for their souls. No amount of money, power, or status can buy back a lost soul. Believers must be willing to make the pursuit of God more important than the selfish pursuit of pleasure. Following Christ means turning from self, taking up the cross, and staying close to the Saviour. Let Jesus’ question ringing in our heart, “What do you benefit of you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroy?”
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.