When You Want Something Badly

Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it’” –Matthew 16:24, 25, NIV.

The Lord Jesus has just finished calling Peter a “stumbling block.” That was the politer of the phrases Christ used to describe His passionate but mistaken disciple. The Lord was getting into a habit of announcing His coming death and Peter couldn’t stand the negative talk any longer and took it upon himself to “correct” the Lord of the universe.

After the stinging rebuke, Jesus turns to all His disciples with this word. Basically if they are serious about following Him, their path must take them all the way to the cross. They will need to sacrifice everything for Him just as He is sacrificing everything for them.

This is not: “I just want you to be willing to do it. I really won’t ask you to carry out your promise.”

This is for sure.

To save others I must sacrifice myself.

Obviously, I can “save” anyone–only faith in Christ and the forgiveness He provides can do that. But the principle remains the same. If I am to follow Christ, I must model Christ. I must do whatever it take, at whatever cost to myself, to provide the opportunity for others to come to faith. To embrace Christ and His purpose for me, I have to let go of myself, my needs, my ambitions, my treasures.

I’m not there yet.

But that phrase “... whoever loses his life for me will find it” creates a longing in me. I want to find real life, to know the reality of His resurrection power at work in me. The only way to do that is through the cross, through that death to myself. I’ll never know real life otherwise.

I want that. The question is, how badly?

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