Graceful Perseverance: Deny Yourself and Take Up Your Cross - 02/07/21
Welcome to this week’s blog. This week’s topic has been and still is an important part of my Christian walk. What does God mean when He says whoever loses their life, will find it, and not lose their soul? What does it mean to deny yourself and take up your cross? What does God reveal to us about this topic throughout scripture? What is the will of God for a physical life on earth or in exchange for an eternal life in heaven with Him?
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2 (NIV).
Is He asking us to be a living sacrifice for Him? If so, what really is the expectation? For centuries and right up to the final moments before the second coming of Christ, many will deny their responsibility to sacrifice life as they know it in exchange for a new eternal life with God. God is undeniably clear in scripture when He tells us that we shall have no other Gods. That if any other gods come after Him, we are to deny that god and take up our cross and follow Him. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. – Matthew 10:38 (NIV).
And He said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. – Luke 9:23 (NIV).
Jesus goes on to say in the book of Matthew that we are to sacrifice our physical, worldly life as we know it to find a new, better life with Him. It is when we lose our old life for his sake that we will find a new life. In doing so, we will not lose our soul, but we will gain a new eternal life with God.
Then Jesus told his disciples, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. – Matthew 16:24-25 (NIV).
There are two types of people on earth. One will die a lonely death, but the other will not experience death by man’s definition. Those who lose their life will not forfeit their soul, as they will have a new eternal life with God, therefore, they will not die but have eternal life. It really comes down to a choice each of us will one day make. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. – Matthew 10:39 (NIV).
There are those who believe that life on earth is the only life they will ever experience. And when the end of their life is before them, they will meet death face to face. They will die a physical death and life will be over as they knew it. These disbelievers “conform to this world” and everything in it.
These disbelievers refuse to lose their life as they know it for a new life with God, an eternal life. But they are more than willing to “forfeit their soul” to gain the world.
What does scripture say about the price to pay for “forfeiting your soul?” What will a man gain if he remains of this world? Will he turn to dust without ever knowing an eternal life in heaven next to God?
Then Jesus said to his disciples, What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? – Matthew 16:26 (NIV).
Agnostics do not have an intimate relationship with Christ. They are really making the choice that this life is all they have. They believe there is no life after this life. Believers, on the other hand, know this life is temporary, a predecessor to an eternal life in heaven, as God has saved a place for each of us in His kingdom.
How each of us chooses to live out our life here will determine our eternal life. All the money, pride, positions in society, whether you are rich and famous or world renowned, how much money is in your bank account, etc. is not how any of us get into heaven. God is not in the least bit interested in those who conform to worldly ways. Remember, what we accumulate in our name here on earth to show others how successful and popular we are has absolutely zero value in our next life, eternal heaven at the right hand of God the Father.
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. – Galatians 5:24 (NIV).
When each of you evaluates this life as an introduction to an eternal life, you will discover those who conform to this world are not pleasing to God. You will realize your values, decisions and priorities change as you deny yourself and take up your cross and follow God.
Blessings until next week,
Debra M. Pauli Unstoppable Believer
Scripture Quotes: Holy Bible – New International Version (NIV) / English Standard Version (ESV)
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