“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
This is a pretty familiar verse to me but it wasn’t until I really began studying His word that it clicked for me. I had always tried to prove myself and would get so discouraged when I slipped up. Turns out I was trying to do it through my own strength.
Choosing to follow Jesus is not a one-time thing. Yes, we only have to repent and ask for salvation one time but following Jesus is continual. Every day we can choose to pick up our cross and follow Him or to walk past the cross and live for ourselves.
This verse remains me that I’m never going to be a perfect Christian but every day I have the opportunity to live my faith for Christ or to live for myself and the world. It’s not an excuse when I slip up but an understanding that God knows I will slip. Pardon the analogy but it’s like being on a diet – just because you mess up one meal doesn’t mean you stop eating; it means you get back on track next meal. I have some days where I put the cross down multiple times and have to go back and pick it up and other days where I feel like Super Christian – just kidding that hasn’t happened yet.
What does it mean to deny yourself? Denying yourself means that you stop focusing on self. It means focusing your eyes on God and aligning your goals with His. It’s the opposite teaching of this world. The world teaches “every man for himself” but Jesus teaches that we are to serve others. The world says that we should put ourselves first and the goal is to fight to the top to acquire as much fame and money as possible. Jesus teaches us to put our faith in Him and to focus on putting ourselves last.
What does it mean to follow Christ? It doesn’t just mean asking for forgiveness and receiving His salvation, although that’s the first step. It’s important to make sure you’re obeying Him and walking closer with Him everyday. It means growing in Christ and learning to live like Him.
This verse means understanding that you will make mistakes and fail but that tomorrow’s a new day. No matter what you’ve done, there’s a choice to be made – pick up the cross and follow Christ to life or keep on walking into the pit.
What do you think of this verse? Do you have any verses that “clicked” for you? As always, I love hearing from you guys!