Matthew 16:24–26 (NKJV)
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
I’m not sure if you feel like me or not, but I feel like this life is like a boxing match sometimes. Life knocks you down, you get up, life punches you in the gut, you gather your composure and move on. Over and over the battle roars. That is life in a nutshell for many of us, even those of us that like to portray a life of roses and sunshine. The key is enduring until the end, fight the good fight, persevere.
Point Blank Instructions
There are not many verses in the Bible as straightforward Matthew 16:24, if you desire the Lord (and His promises), you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. You cannot get much simpler than that! That may be a simple command, but how hard is this to maintain? Deny yourself, literally deny your fleshly desires. Think about some of the fleshly desires you have, some of them are very strong. Taking up your cross is to allow the old man to die. Let the sins of the past fade away, experience the new life in the Lord. Then the last commandment in this verse, follow Him. There is a clear progression there. Deny, die, follow.
Whoever Desires To Save His Life
We are obviously speaking about spiritual life here. This makes complete sense, does it not? Do we hold onto those desires in hopes of saving that previous life of sin? Do we constantly seek fleshly pleasure? If we do, we will lose our eternal life. It is important to look past our fleshly desires to seek the promise to come.
Whoever Loses His Life
If we are willing to lose that previous life of sin, there is a promise, eternal security. The Lord is being very clear with us, give up all that is earthly, all that is sinful, for the promise of eternal redemption. When we think about the reward to come, it should help us avoid the snares of this life. We should be keeping our focus there.
Gaining The Whole World
Is that not what sin promises? The whole world, all the pleasure, all the fun, in exchange for what? Your soul! Oh, how foolish we are sometime in the deals we make! We are offered eternal security and we exchange it for moments of pleasure.
The Lord has a great promise for us, we can either trade that in for the pleasures of this life, or experience all that the Lord has to offer. We must be believers that focus on the big eternal picture.
Proverbs 16:3 (NKJV)
3 Commit your works to the Lord,
And your thoughts will be established.