Losing Your Life to Save It
“If anyone 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 will find it.” - (Matthew 16:24–25)
What comes to mind when you see a cross? Maybe you think of it as the symbol of the church or of Christianity. For many, the cross is a fashion accessory or maybe even a tattoo. The early church, however, did not use a cross as their symbol; they used the fish as their symbol. The early church did not wear crosses; they died on crosses. It was an upsetting, shocking image.
In the first century, people who lived in any area occupied by the Romans knew about crosses, because the Romans had a penchant for crucifying people. Crucifixion was not an efficient way to put a person to death. There were far more effective ways. The Romans used crucifixion as a means of torture. They used it to inflict the maximum amount of pain. They crucified people and put them on public display to serve as a warning to anyone who would dare defy the power of Rome.
That’s why Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24 nkjv). It was an alarming way to phrase it. And it meant one thing: death. That sounds pretty unappealing. You imagine yourself living a miserable, sacrificial life—an unhappy life.
But Jesus went on to say, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (verse 25 nkjv). The fact of the matter is that when you’re truly taking up your cross, you’re experiencing life.
The objective is not to learn to love yourself; it is to deny yourself. If you actually want to find yourself, then lose yourself. And how do you lose yourself? You take up your cross and follow Him.
Copyright © 2018 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Social media summary: The unexpected benefit of a sacrificial life.
Watch Greg Laurie's weekly television broadcast on LightSource.com.
In thanks for your gift, you can receive a copy of Forensic Faith
Do you feel equipped to give a logical explanation for your faith? Can you confidently explain your beliefs if someone were to ask you about, for example, the historical truth of the resurrection, or the validity of Scripture, or why God allows evil in the world? Let J. Warner Wallace help you with his new book.
Forensic Faith is our thank-you gift to you when you donate to Harvest Ministries today.