BONUS: Take Up Your Cross of Self-Denial

Jesus laid aside His privileges. He relinquished His authority. He yielded His rightful position in the throne room – even though He was and is worthy of all glory, honor and praise.

Jesus did this so that He could be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and to do the will of the Father.

The text today is found in Mark 8:34-38 it is also recorded in the Matthew chapter 10 and in Luke chapter 9, the latter we will look at a bit later: Mark 8 starting in verse 34:

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Just hearing these words is difficult. Putting them into practice seems utterly unrealistic. We cringe at the very thought of self-denial. It is so contrary to our human nature.

We wonder if anyone can take Jesus seriously. I mean, who ever heard of self-denial? We are much more comfortable with words like “self-fulfillment” and “self-actualization”.

And yet, “self-denial” is right there, annoyingly, and not just once, but repeated in the gospels. It seems to me, if we are to be devoted disciples of Christ, we need to seriously consider these words: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

But the truth is, each one of us must not shrink back from dealing with our selfish and sinful inclinations. Our flesh, our sin nature, the old man – whatever you call the result of the curse, are all ways of identifying our natural rebellious existence.

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BONUS: Take Up Your Cross of Self-Denial