Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?
History and Context:
A thorough but brief description of the history and context of the book of Luke can be found here. Basically, Luke is the most thorough and historical of the four Gospels. It was written by Luke who was an educated physician and historian and he meticulously brought together the facts from the other available sources as well as accounts from eyewitnesses and created a historical account of the life of Jesus.
On July 7th, 2011 we discussed a similar passage in Matthew 16:24-26. One thing to reiterate from that post is that the cross, for the people of Jesus' time, was a very serious thing. For us it has become a symbol representing Christ. A religous symbol that reminds us of Jesus and portrays us as his 'fans'. For the disciples who originally heard this challenge, it was a symbol of the most humiliating and horrifying death known to man. It was not a light thing for Jesus to tell them to "take up their cross", and many of them ended up having to do it literally.
Jesus called His disciples to total sacrifice. He told them that they had to give up their lives in order to truly find life. It is a difficult, yet rewarding, journey.
Are you a truly committed follower of Jesus Christ? Are you ready and willing to give up any aspect of your life in your pursuit of Him? Are you willing to make sacrifices, take risks, and step out in faith when He requests? Are you a Christian just to make it to heaven, or do you truly want to live the life that God has laid out for you? I challenge you to honestly ask yourselves these questions today. If there is something you would not be willing to give up for HIm than that thing has become an idol. If there is someone that you could never leave if He asked you to, than that person has become an idol. Jesus asked for everything, and if we hold anything back than we are missing out on the true, amazing life that He wants to share with us. But in the end, it's you that has to choose.
Lord, I choose the life that you have offered. I choose to give everything up to you and to follow you no matter what the cost may be. Lead me and guide me into the life that you have laid out for me! Thank you Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen!