Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
To appreciate the sacrificial lifestyle, we ought to look a bit closer at the word Sacrificial and indeed the words sacrifice and lifestyle
The word “sacrificial” means consecrating or setting something or someone aside to be used up in fulfilling a higher purpose or function. Sacrifice is something set aside for a higher purpose or denying ourselves what we really want or what we feel entitled to, for a worthy reason.
When we talk about Sacrifice and sacrificial, the ultimate example there is Jesus Christ. Jesus did not just give up something, he gave up everything, including ultimately his own life! So Jesus didn’t just live a sacrificial lifestyle but he was the ultimate sacrifice. The question is why? Why did he have to do it, why did he have to live his glorious heaven to come to this sin cursed world, to a people who he knew would not only reject him, abuse him but eventually kill him? Look at it this way, he was born to suffer and die, all for us!
Think about that for a minute, so the question now is, how do we respond to such a saviour when he says “carry your cross and follow me”
There are three components to Matthew 16:24:
1. Deny yourself
2. Carry your cross
3. Follow Jesus
To deny oneself is to choose a lifestyle that is less focused on oneself, in fact it is the sacrificial life that Jesus was talking about!
Then he said carry your cross, there is a lot one can say here. You know how often we feel we are the only one going through issues and because of our issues, we should be excused from fulfilling the master’s bidding? Well simply put, Jesus here is saying “your issues” will not be a good enough excuse for not doing what is expected of you, which is to deny yourself i.e. focus a little less on yourself. I am going to not only be with you but strengthen you through your issues, I will never leave nor forsake you, but you’ve got to buckle up and arise to your kingdom responsibilities.
Then finally, he says follow me! Many today think they’ve got it all sorted. They can live the sacrificial life or even formulate a religiosity but not necessarily with Christ in it! How erroneous!! I don’t have to follow Jesus they say, I am doing my bit and that is good enough for me. Well Jesus’ response to that is you are lost without me! I am the way! If you must find the father then you have got to follow me!
So these next few weeks we’ll walk closely with Jesus a lot closer than we have ever done, issues or no issues. We will follow in the footsteps of our master who is the epitome of what it means to live the sacrificial life
Week 1 – Making time for God click here
Week 2 – Holiness unto the Lord! click here