Luke 9:23 - Living For Eternity
If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself,
and take up his cross daily,
and follow me.
Luke 9:23, 24 (KJV)
To deny oneself is not a call to a colorless life. Rather, it is a call to
deny the baser nature and pursue the higher spiritual levels of living to
which Jesus points. [Annotated SB]
An entire sacrifice of the lower life, or a willingness to make such a
sacrifice, is indispensable to the preservation of the higher life. The man
who cannot bring himself to surrender the one for the sake of the other will
eventually lose both. [Jamieson, Fausset, And Brown Commentary]
God wants to bring you into union with Himself, but unless you are willing
to give up your right to yourself, He cannot. "...let him deny himself...."
Then the real life-the spiritual life-is allowed the opportunity to grow.
[In His Time; My Utmost For His Highest re Mat.16:24]
The cross was well known as an instrument of death, so it represents here
the death or separation from the old life that must mark a disciple. [Ryrie
Calvary's cross was God's will for Jesus, so our "cross" is whatever God's
will for us is each day. That will may involve pain, but often involves joy.
There may be tears, but our cross also carries shouts and singing. The one
thing that we can be sure of, however, is that our cross calls us to daily
choose God's will in preference to our own, and thus demands the most
significant kind of self-denial. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
To follow Christ faithfully, the Christian disciple must give up
self-interest and die to the sin of disobedience. Failure to follow Christ
in daily obedience reveals that Christ is not Lord. Such failure is sin.
To follow Jesus requires self-denial, complete dedication and willing
obedience. [NIV SB]
Jesus demanded the consecration of the whole man to his cause. [Wycliffe
Jesus' disciples are not to use their lives on earth for their own
pleasure--they should spend their lives serving God and people. [Life
The Christian must realize that he is given life, not to keep for himself
but to spend for others; not to husband its flame but to burn it out for
Christ and for men. [Barclay Commentary]
Salvation is God's gift to us because Jesus died for us on the cross.
Discipleship is our gift to Him as we take up our cross, die to self, and
follow the Lord in everything. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines]
Jesus places mankind in two categories: those who follow Him and those who
do not. Those who follow Him are in the minority and must struggle against
the current of our time in order to be obedient to Him. The Lord calls His
followers to a life of selflessness; the world encourages each to get all
that he can. The Lord calls His followers to a life of patient waiting; the
world urges immediate gratification. The Lord calls His followers to labor
for the kingdom; the world strives for bigger, better, and the most now.
What do you do more than others? Are you more selfless or selfish? Are you
waiting or striving? Does what you do have eternal or temporal
significance? Think about it! [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom re Mat.5:47]
Follow Me (v. 23). The Living Bible renders this beautifully and well:
"Keep close to Me."
How can you and I ever find the strength to reject the old in us, and
decide daily to do God's will? By ourselves, we can't. But we have
Jesus' invitation, "Keep close to Me."
Jesus does not invite us to a "by-rule" way of life. Jesus invites us
to personal relationship. As we do keep close to Christ, He encourages
us and enables us. Jesus provides the power we need to live
triumphantly, and to grow in that new life which, ultimately, is His.
This, then, is both the way and the necessity of discipleship. To be or
not to be disciples is the choice we face: on it hinges the finding or
losing of our new selves. We can be disciples as we deny the old in us,
choose God's will daily, and follow close to Christ. [Victor Teacher's
This is our destiny. We are to be like God throughout eternity, and, in this
world, to become more and more like Him all the time. . . We can choose to
live the old way, by the values and motives that move men in this world. We
can live the old life, and let the new remain unnourished, buried deep with
in us. If we do so choose, what we lose is ourselves, our experience on this
earth of the person we could have been. . . .Will you lose your old life, or
are you determined to hold tightly to it, to try and save your "self"? Or
will you let go, turn away from the old for Jesus' sake, and in so doing
become the new, the true, you?
You and I, warped as we have been by sin, are given the choice of holding on
to the old self, or by complete commitment to God, experiencing a
transformation that will make us loving, beautiful, and new. If we choose to
reject the will of God, and hang onto the old self, we lose. But if we
choose to reject our old self, and do the will of God, we win. And our prize
is the new self Jesus will help us become. [The 365-Day Devotional