Reading the devotional, “Beside the Still Waters,” I was moved once again by Jesus’ words to His disciples,
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Matt. 16:24).”
Attempting to give us an idea of this denial Jesus speaks of, this author takes the reader to the scene when Peter denied Christ. During that, the lowest point in Peter’s life, he would fully disown Jesus before his accusers.
With that woeful thought in mind, isn’t that very similar to what Jesus says to us in Matthew’s account of the gospel?
“Deny yourself and follow me”
It seems that Jesus anticipates that his followers will disown their former selves, being a new creature in Him. It’s not for selfish reasons that our Lord demands this though. It is as much for our own good as for the Kingdom itself.
To refuse to be obedient to Jesus’ command to deny ourselves is like choosing to stand in a darkened back alley eating an old moldy hotdog all along refusing the beckoning banquet hall owner who offers access to a grand buffet.
When we lose our lives in His, we find the true and abundant life. It’s well illustrated by Jesus’ parable of the treasure hidden in a field. The finder is willing to joyfully shuck off and sell everything to attain what he’s aware awaits him buried in the field.
Jesus says to us today,
“Let it go. If need be, give it all away. Forsake all the weak and beggarly stuff; pick that cross up, and come with me.”