MARK 8:34-37 “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.” 35-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. 36-For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37-Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
There are three commandments in Mark 8:34 that lead up to 2 of JESUS’ questions at the end.
If we keep them we will save our souls. Otherwise, we will forfeit our souls and eternal life.
1. JESUS said, “Whoever DESIRES to come after me...” JESUS doesn't mean that this desire is optional —it's ok or it’s not okay to desire Him. Rather, this desire is essential to saving a man’s soul. And the desire to follow Him must be consuming —not half-hearted or lukewarm.
Life on this earth comes with challenges, obstacles and difficulties, and GOD knows it.
Man relentlessly pursues the world, but only a few desire the LORD first in their life. Do you truly pursue CHRIST daily?
2. JESUS says, “DENY yourself and TAKE UP YOUR CROSS...”
This desire must translate into dedication. This doesn't mean you have to give up the things that are normal and needful in this life, such as education, career, material possessions, food and healthful activities, rest and recreation, caring for others. But these things must be secondary. GOD knows we need them. But they must conform to JESUS’ desire for you, not a “me first” desire..
To deny self is to be consistent and constant in our dedication to CHRIST. -How consistent are you in your devotion to JESUS?
3. JESUS says, “FOLLOW ME”
This commandment gives direction to our desire to follow JESUS’ life example. It means reflecting the life and love of CHRIST to a desperate world around you. -Not every disciple can be a leader, but we all must be followers of JESUS CHRIST. To follow His example is not easy. There are lots of obstacles and opposition along the way. But His Word reminds us, “I can do all things through CHRIST who gives me strength”….and “Greater is He who is in me than he that is in this world.” It profits us nothing to follow the world. So, although the journey is difficult, let us follow JESUS. And remember what He said, “Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). But JESUS also says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
ABBA GOD, thank You for the gift of Your Son JESUS, who is the way, the truth and the life in whom we have forgiveness of sin, salvation and eternal life. May I daily deny self, take up my cross, and desire to follow CHRIST, reflecting His life and love to everyone around me.
In His Name I pray. Amen.
CHRIST Matters Most,
Pastor Wally & Sister Mattie