24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it. 26 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? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done.
For meditation: To become a true disciple of Christ requires a commitment to loving sacrifice in the form of self-denial and a willingness to accept suffering out of love for Christ. A readiness to follow Him, even giving up one’s life for Him is the condition for true discipleship. This will be repaid by Him at the final judgement.
A note for reflection: The choice to deny ourselves (our worldly wants and desires that ultimately lead to sin) and instead follow Jesus Christ by picking up our “cross” (to suffer for His sake and our eternal glory) is always ours. Our loving Heavenly Father does not force loyal obedience and sacrifice because…that would not be love–and He is love. But, our choice to love Him and follow Him will be greatly rewarded.
Pray for the Lord to help you seek more of Him and less of your own temporal desires; for the strength to rebuke all harmful temptations and the loyal steadfastness to pick up the cross daily, following Him with loving gratitude.
God bless you.