“…If you want to follow Me, you must deny yourself the things you think you want. You must pick up your cross and follow Me. If you try to avoid danger and risk, then you’ll lose everything. If you let go of your life and risk all for My sake, then your life will be rescued, healed, made whole and full. Look, does it make sense to truly become successful, but then to hand over your very soul? What is your soul really worth?” –Jesus (Matthew 16:24;26 Luke 9:24) VOICE
As we are in Easter weekend, we remember Jesus dying on the cross; taking our sin on His shoulders and removing the guilt and shame of all our sins. Amazing!
At the time Jesus said this, he had obviously not yet died on the cross but this was a common form of punishment used by the Romans at the time. But Jesus wasn’t using it as a punishment. He was teaching them the way to real life.
To follow Christ means to follow His way instead of your own. To do this, you must kill your wants and desires and trust in the Lord’s desire for you. I know this sounds harsh but unless you do this, you’re selfish wants and desires will block you from receiving true healing from the Lord and being made whole.
Many people in America, and many desiring to move here, are fighting to obtain the “American Dream.” Unlimited possibilities and freedom to go after whatever you want. You can have anything you want if you put your heart into it. You can achieve success and prosperity if you work hard enough. I believe Jesus words speak directly to this when He says, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”
Hollywood is filled with people who seem to “have it all” and yet there is still left wanting. I love this quote from Jim Carrey, ““I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” “If you aren’t in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret.”
Jesus isn’t offering us the “American Dream.” His offer to us is real life that doesn’t leave you wanting. That’s what we signed up for when we gave our lives to Him, right? So why don’t we have it? I’m afraid we are spending too much of our efforts chasing something akin to the “American Dream” that we are missing it. Most of us are simply too caught up on being popular or having a nice car or a nice house or a good retirement plan that all we want from God is the means to aquire those things.
Are you willing to trust God enough to satisfy all your desires and wants? Are you making too much of a life for yourself here, which is here today and gone tomorrow, or are you finding your fulfillment in Heaven? Are you willing to give up everything to follow him? Really?
Spend some time in prayer asking the Lord where your desires and wants are getting in the way. Give Him time to reveal to you things you are still holding on to for life here. Confess to Him and repent of those things.
Now in light of Easter, let us take up our crosses, dying to self, and enter in to the life He has for us.