Our Calling as Jesus’ Disciples
Matthew 16:24-25 “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”
What is a disciple? A disciple is one who is a learner and follower of someone, or some doctrine.
To be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we must follow and learn of Him.
Jesus says here, that to be my follower, you must deny yourself (your wants, plans, likes and dislikes) and pick up your cross.
What is my cross? It is anything the Lord wills for me, which cuts across my will. In other words: anything to which we would say, “I won’t”.
The message of the cross is that you were alive when you were put on; and you were dead when they took you off.
Simply, “my cross” is the things that will put to death in me….the rebellion, or resentment, or selfishness which exists in me.
So I can follow after and have His life in me.
As I deny myself, He creates in me that character of Christ, and giving me freedom from sin and self.
And this you must will, for our cross deals with our wills.
“If any man will”.
(When the Lord showed this to me, I was struggling with the way the Lord did things.
I did not realize how much I argued with the Lord, about His will. He showed me how much I asked, “Why?”
Why this? Why that way?….How many “whys” had I asked? How many times had I questioned Him….the Almighty God.
Who did I think I was? Yet I had done it again and again.
When He showed me this, I felt sick,…I could not even think “why?” without it hurting just a little bit.
I stopped asking why, and really started working at denying myself.)
When the cross has done it’s work, you no longer resist His will in anything.
It is not instant obedience, but it is final obedience. You will do His will.
But then Jesus goes on to say, “Whosoever will save his life, shall lose it.”
What does this mean? Jesus is saying: we are going to live our life our way,….or His way.
We may be a person who puts off things as long as they can. Doing only when the time is about up. That is our natural way.
God may let us go on in our way for a while,……but one day will require us to see things done early;…..right away….because He wants to teach us His way. And bless us there.
It may be the opposite: we may be someone who gets up and gets things done, so they can have the rest of the day for themselves.
And God says, “Wait till later”.
It is hard to wait; you are thinking of all the things you could do later. But God is trying to show us how to yield to Him, in all situations to Him.
There are many natural “ways”. Some habits, and some are extensions of our personality, which we need to lose, by denying ourselves.
Then we can “find” our life in Christ Jesus. We find as we deny our way, that the way God works things out, is best.
We find that the words we say become His words.
We find that our reactions…become action, taken by direction of the Holy Spirit.
(It is amazing, when you consider His life flowing through you.)
Of course, we still have to will it, for the action of our lives comes through our will.
If we try and save our self life, we will surely lose it; for it was never intended for you to have a life apart from God.
We were always in His plans and purposes.
When God says If we “save” our life, we will “lose” it….what does He mean?
It is losing time, it is losing opportunity for usefulness, and it is losing our life’s joy and blessing which He has for us.
It may mean for some….the loss of the feeling of His Presence with us….He is not gone….but we do not have His inward guidance, or comfort like we should….in a world where temptations abound, and anger rules.
But if we will, His love draws us forward.
His Holy Spirit empowers us onward.
His Purpose (His will and way) lift us homewards.