Following Jesus!

21 Jul

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said, if any man will come after Me, 
let him deny himself, and take up His cross and follow Me.  
The very first thing we notice about this scripture is that 
Jesus was speaking specifically regarding those who would 
follow after Him, not to those who just wanted to hang 
around Him for the benefits. 

If our chief goal in life is following Jesus, we must 
recognize that our position in life has changed.  We are no 
longer in charge. Since we are following after Jesus, He is 
first!

Jesus said that those who follow Him must deny self and take 
up His cross and follow Him. That sounds easy enough. But 
wait, let's analyze denying self a bit more closely.  Denying 
self is denying me. This translates into no longer responding 
to life focused upon how I feel. Instead, I deny self and 
respond to life based upon the truths that Jesus has for me 
in the Bible. As I deny myself Jesus becomes more visible to 
others through me, and I become more like Him. (Matthew 5:16). 
That's a win win situation since following Jesus is my 
priority. 

Let's recap. As I follow Jesus, He takes the lead. I deny 
myself and take up my cross, responding to life based on His 
terms, not mine. And as I take up my cross and follow Jesus, 
dying to self, I gain life. As I do so, other see Jesus 
through me.  

In our "do whatever feels right" society, following Jesus 
makes no sense at all (1 Corinthians 1:27).  But If we live 
by the worlds standards we will lose our souls (Matthew 16: 
25-26). This world is temporary and so is everything in it. 
Some day, perhaps even sooner than we can imagine, we will 
meet Jesus face to face (Matthew 24). But those of us who 
follow Jesus now, can rest assured that we will have 
nothing to fear later (Matthew 16: 27-28). Let's follow Jesus!
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