BIBLE READING: MARK 8
34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Jesus here give some instruction not only about life, but about living. If we’re going to spend our life for the Lord, there are some things that must take place:
1. There is a DECISION
“Whosoever will come after me”. Every person must make the decision for themselves. Am I going to follow Jesus, or am I going to follow my flesh? Jesus makes it clear by the statement that he will use anybody that wants to be used. But anybody that Jesus uses must make the decision to “come after” Him.
2. There is DENYING
“Let him deny himself”. There’s not enough room in the “top spot” of the priorities in our life for you and Christ. If Christ is going to come first, then we are going to have to deny ourselves. It’s not always that an individual does not love the Lord, it’s just that they love themselves more.
3. There is our DUTY
“Take up his cross”. A cross is a symbol of death. That’s what crosses were for, they were for killing those that had been deemed guilty. Now the cross of Jesus represents life to us, but it represented death for Him. When Jesus said that we must take up our cross, it literally is a symbol that we must die to ourselves. That is our duty.
4. There is DIRECTION
“Follow me”. That’s what it means when we deny ourselves, it means we now do and go wherever Christ tells us to go. He gives the direction and we follow it
5. There is DISCIPLINE
“Whosoever will lose his life for my sake”. Our nasty flesh will constantly fight against the Spirit of God. Our flesh will want its way, but we must discipline ourselves to deny our flesh for the sake of Christ. We must “lose” our life to find it.
6. There must be DISCERNMENT
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Good discernment will see that you gain more than you lose when Christ comes first. Even gaining ground “the whole world” could not compare to following Christ.