Message: “If anyone wants to follow me he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Command: Deny myself and take up my cross daily.
Promise: When I deny myself and take up my cross daily, I will no longer be trying to preserve my broken life, and I will instead receive a new life in exchange.
Warning: Trying to preserve my own life in it’s broken state will only lead to more loss and brokenness.
Application: This feels like such a contradictory passage but it’s such an important thing to grasp. There are promises all over the bible of all the good things God has in store for us as followers. When I read this from a selfish state of mind it sounds like God is going to give me all of the desires of my selfish little heart. But the condition is that I have to deny myself and allow God to do a powerful work in my heart. When I am truly surrendered and denying my flesh I will no longer desire the selfish things and will be completely fulfilled. Instead of chasing the desires of my flesh I will be fulfilled with contentment and God will be able to bless me with things in a surrendered state because the surrendered heart doesn’t chase after selfish desires. I find this to be a challenge literally every day as selfishness rises up in unexpected places. It’s like a game of whack-a-mole as I squash one thing, another rises up in the form of relationship offenses and other non-suspecting areas of selfishness try to take hold of my heart. They don’t look like selfishness from the surface but when I get to the root of the unrest in my heart, there it is!