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We need to understand that just saying a prayer to receive Jesus is not enough: we must become followers of Christ. He teaches us to follow Him. We must take up our cross.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, 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 lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?’ ” (Matthew 16:24-26).
Bearing a cross meant one was about to die, and they would have faced ridicule and disgrace along the way. Therefore, Jesus is challenging us to fully commit to our faith and embrace the sacrifices and hardships that come with being a true follower of Christ. This commitment goes beyond simply saying a prayer or acknowledging Jesus as Lord. It involves surrendering our wills, our desires, and our very lives to Him, letting go of our worldly concerns and selfish ambitions in order to prioritize His kingdom and righteousness.
As we follow Jesus, we can expect to face various trials, persecution, and even ridicule from those who do not share our faith. Embracing the cross means being willing to endure these difficulties and stand firm in our beliefs, even when it's not popular or convenient. It's about recognizing the eternal value of our souls and putting our trust in God's promises, rather than seeking fleeting pleasures or material success. This level of discipleship requires steadfastness and perseverance, but it ultimately leads to a deeper relationship with Christ and a more meaningful, purposeful life.
Jesus' words in Matthew 16:24-26 serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of wholehearted devotion to our faith. We must be willing to let go of our own desires and plans, and fully embrace the life that God has called us to. Only by giving up our lives for His sake, can we truly experience the abundant life and eternal salvation that He offers.
As followers of Christ, let us strive to carry our cross daily, embracing the challenges and sacrifices it entails, knowing that the rewards far outweigh the costs.
Just a thought,
Published on Monday, March 20, 2023 @ 7:14 AM MDT
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