Matthew 16:24 - Deny Self Pick Up Your Cross Follow Jesus.

Matthew 16:24 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to His 
disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him 
deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow 


   When we don't have a relationship with 
Christ, our choices are focused on the here and now, 
as though there were no existence after death. 
In reality, our lives here are the beginning of 
eternity. Our lives and choices here have an impact on 
our eternal existence. Similarly, the reality of 
eternity can have influence on our lives and choices 
   The cars we drive or the clothes we wear 
may be very fashionable today, but in light of 
eternity, how important should they be? The movies we 
watch and the music we listen to may keep us 
culturally relevant, but do they have value in an 
eternal world? How does eternity shape our 
aspirations for social status or civic honors? These are 
all important questions to ask ourselves and 
answer as God's Word gives us insight. Evaluate 
your lifestyle from an eternal perspective, and 
you may find yourself prioritizing and choosing 
differently. [One Year NLT SB] 


   "If any man will come after me, let him 
deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and 
follow me." The yoke and the cross are symbols 
representing the same thing,--the giving up of the will 
to God. Wearing the yoke unites finite man in 
companionship with the dearly beloved Son of God. Lifting 
the cross cuts away self from the soul, and 
places man where he learns how to bear Christ's 
burdens. We cannot follow Christ without wearing His 
yoke, without lifting the cross and bearing it 
after Him. If our will is not in accord with the 
divine requirements, we are to deny our 
inclinations, give up our darling desires, and step in 
Christ's footsteps. . . .  
   It is a terribly hard struggle to give up 
your own will and your own way. But this lesson 
learned, you will find rest and peace. Pride, 
selfishness, and ambition must be overcome; your will 
must be swallowed up in the will of Christ. The 
whole life may become one constant love sacrifice, 
every action a manifestation, and every word an 
utterance of love. As the life of the vine circulates 
through stem and cluster, descends into the lower 
fibers, and reaches to the topmost leaf, so will the 
grace and love of Christ burn and abound in the 
soul, sending its virtues to every part of the 
being, and pervading every exercise of body and 
mind.  5BC1090-2 

   Individuality is the husk of the personal 
life. Individuality is all elbows, it separates 
and isolates. It is the characteristic of the 
child and rightly so; but if we mistake 
individuality for the personal life, we shall remain 
isolated. The shell of individuality is Gods 
created natural covering for the protection of the 
personal life; but individuality must go in order 
that the personal life may come out and be 
brought into fellowship with God. Individuality 
counterfeits personality as lust counterfeits love. God 
designed human nature for Himself; individuality 
debases human nature for itself. 
   The characteristics of individuality are 
independence and selfassertiveness. It is the continual 
assertion of individuality that hinders our spiritual 
life more than anything else. If you say"I 
cannot believe, it is because individuality 
never can believe. Personality cannot help 
believing. Watch yourself when the Spirit of God is at 
work. He pushes you to the margins of your 
individuality, and you have either to say"I 
shant, or to surrender, to break the husk of 
individuality and let the personal life emerge. The Holy 
Spirit narrows it down every time to one thing (cf. 
Matthew 5:23-24). The thing in you that will not be 
reconciled to your brother is your individuality. 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"deny 
his independent right to himself, then the real 
life has a chance to grow. [My Utmost for His 
Highest by Oswald Chambers] 

Individuality; Jesus said to his disciples, 
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny 
himself." We hinder our spiritual growth more than any 
other way by continually asserting our 
individuality. 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] 

   Many are on a quest to find personal 
happiness. The world sets up for us models of wealthy, 
famous, well-dressed people and says that if we can 
just become like them, we'll be happy. The Bible 
has a different message. It says that we find 
happiness by following Christ into the life he has 
planned for us. 
   The way to be a happy, fulfilled person 
is found in today's reading in Matthew 16. 
Jesus gets right to the point by saying to the 
believer, "If you give up your life for my sake, you 
will save it." He wasn't talking only about 
physical death (although in some parts of the world, 
that is a reality for believers); he was saying 
that you must submit to him your will, your 
plans, and your future. The all-knowing, 
all-powerful God has a plan especially for you. When you 
gratefully walk in the direction he has planned for 
you, you will find fulfillment and true 
   That doesn't mean that you can't set 
goals and work toward attaining them. Instead, you 
make your plans and set your goals always seeking 
God's guidance and walking obediently as each step 
becomes clear. [The One Year Bible for New 

   Jesus asked his disciples to hand over 
the keys of their lives to him. After they saw 
him raised from the dead, they were willing to 
follow him anywhere, even into suffering. 
   Sometimes we still struggle with wanting 
to be in the driver's seat, but we won't get 
anywhere that way. When we hand over the keys to 
Jesus, we'll run away from the hard parts of the 
change process less and less. Instead, we'll 
embrace them. "We are transfigured much like the 
Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and 
more beautiful as God enters our lives and we 
become like him" (2 Corinthians 3:18 MSG). 
   What hard situation is Jesus asking you 
to embrace this week? You don't have to endure 
it in your own strength. Let him drive. 
   Let Jesus take the driver's seat in your 
life. As you follow him, your life will shine more 
and more with his holy character. [The Daniel 
Plan 365-Day Devotional] 

   Did you know that the majority of what we 
do on social media pertains to us? Just like 
the latest tweet I sent. I care about my tweet 
way more than anyone else's. (Jesus might have 
said to love other people's tweets as you love 
your own, but I don't think so. I'll keep working 
on that.) 
   Think about the whole notion of selfies 
for a minute, a phenomenon that still fascinates 
and repulses me in equal measure, like some 
roadside accident on the information superhighway. 
I'm not even sure if the word selfie existed a 
decade ago. Yet in 2013, Oxford Dictionaries 
crowned it as their Word of the Year. Out of almost 
nowhere, selfies have become an obsession for so 
   Everywhere we go - the office, home, 
church, the gym - we're encouraged to take a selfie. 
It's almost like we have to prove that we really 
did brush our teeth, lift that barbell, or wash 
the car, so we take a selfie to prove it. We're 
the selfie-proclaimed star of our own daily 
reality show. 
   Our culture says show yourself. Update 
your status. Pin your latest pic. 
   Jesus said deny yourself.
   If someone looked at your Facebook page, 
your Instagram photos, or your most recent tweets 
or snaps, what would they see? Would they see a 
humble, others-focused, Christ-centered disciple? Or 
would they see something less than who Christ has 
called you to be? 
   Dear Lord, I know I get caught up in my 
own little world and focus too much on myself. 
Give me a soft heart willing to put others first. 
[Daily Power by Craig Groeschel] 

   We don't have to teach people to be 
selfish. We are selfish by nature. When push comes to 
shove (as my friend John can attest), we're 
looking out for number one"me, myself, and mine. 
Not only do we have our sinfulness working 
against us, but much of what we see in culture 
affirms our self-centered tendencies. Some argue 
that a massive shift in culture in 1973 changed 
everything. I was only six at the time, but I certainly 
took note, mostly because of the catchy jingle. 
   In a move that would rock the fast-food 
world, Burger King boldly declared that you had 
choices, options, decisions to make. If you wanted a 
burger, you could "have it your way!" Hold the 
pickle, hold the lettuce"whatever you wanted, you 
could have it that way. 
   As far as competing with McDonald's, BK 
nailed it. But if you want to be closer to God and 
connect with others, then it's not going to work 
According to Jesus, life is not all about us. Even 
when everything in culture tries to tell us that 
it is. 
   We are not called to celebrate, promote, 
defend, or advance ourselves"but to deny 
ourselves. To pick up our cross, to suffer through not 
having everything our way, to die to our selfish 
   God wants us to have it his way.
   And we're not talking burgers.
   It's tough to put others first, Lord, 
when everything around me encourages me to have 
it my way. Today give me the strength to take 
up my cross and follow you. [Daily Power by 
Craig Groeschel] 


   If you have Me - your Savior, Lord, and 
Friend - you have everything that really matters. 
You may not have riches, fame, or success, but 
don't let that discourage you. As I said to My 
disciples, "What do you benefit if you gain the whole 
world but lose your own soul?" Nothing can be 
compared with the priceless treasure of eternal Life! 
Consider a jewel merchant on the hunt for excellent 
pearls. When he found one that was flawless, he sold 
everything and bought it. My kingdom is like that: of 
inestimable worth! So learn to be content with having 
Me, beloved, regardless of what you may lack in 
this world.  
   The source of much discontentment is 
comparing oneself with others. I want you to make 
every effort to avoid this deadly trap. Remember 
that you are My unique creation - redeemed by My 
blood and exquisitely precious to Me. Stay in 
joyful communication with Me, the Savior who loves 
you immeasurably more than you can imagine. I 
will transform you more and more into the 
masterpiece I designed you to be. (Mat. 16:26; 13:45, 
46; 1Ti. 6:6; Eph. 2:10) [Jesus Always by Sarah 


   One cant, at once, promote two 
reputations. Promote Gods and forget yours. Or promote 
yours and forget Gods. We must choose. 
   Joseph did. Matthew describes Jesuss 
earthly father as a craftsman (Matt. 13:55). He 
lives in Nazareth: a single-camel map dot on the 
edge of boredom. Joseph never speaks in the New 
Testament. He does much. He sees an angel, marries a 
pregnant girl, and leads his family to Bethlehem and 
Egypt. He does much, but says nothing. 
   A small-town carpenter who never said a 
Scripture-worthy word. Is Joseph the right choice? Doesnt 
God have better options? An eloquent priest from 
Jerusalem or a scholar from the Pharisees? Why Joseph? 
A major part of the answer lies in his 
reputation: he gives it up for Jesus. Then Joseph 
[Marys] husband, being a just man, and not wanting 
to make her a public example, was minded to put 
her away secretly (Matt. 1:19). 
   Marys parents, by this point, have 
signed a contract and sealed it with a dowry. Mary 
belongs to Joseph; Joseph belongs to Mary. Legally 
and matrimonially bound. 
   Now what? His fiance is pregnant, 
blemished, tainted  he is righteous, godly. On one 
hand, he has the law. On the other, he has his 
love. The law says, stone her. Love says, forgive 
her. Joseph is caught in the middle. But Joseph 
is a kind man. Not wanting to disgrace her, 
[he] planned to send her away secretly (v. 19 
   A quiet divorce. How long would it stay 
quiet? Likely not long. But for a time, this was 
the solution. 
   Then comes the angel. While he thought 
about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord 
appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of 
David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your 
wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the 
Holy Spirit  (v. 20). 
   Marys growing belly gives no cause for 
concern, but reason to rejoice. She carries the 
Son of God in her womb, the angel announces. 
But who would believe it? Who would buy this 
tale? Envision Joseph being questioned by the city 
   Joseph, they say, we understand 
that Mary is with child. 
   He nods.
   Is the child yours?
   He shakes his head.
   Do you know how she became pregnant?
   Gulp. A bead of sweat forms beneath 
Josephs beard. He faces a dilemma. He makes his 
decision. Joseph  took to him his wife, and did 
not know her till she had brought forth her 
firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS (Matt. 
   Joseph tanked his reputation. He swapped 
his reputation for a pregnant fiance and an 
illegitimate son and made the big decision of 
discipleship. He placed Gods plan ahead of his own. 
   Would you be willing to do the same? God 
grants us an uncommon life to the degree we 
surrender our common one. If you try to keep your 
life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you 
give up your life for me, you will find true 
life (Matt. 16:25 NLT). Would you forfeit your 
reputation to see Jesus born into your world? [Max 
Lucado Daily Devotional at maxlucado.com] 

   Few stories have lingered in the minds of 
readers like The Pearl, John Steinbecks classic 
tale of gain and loss. In this sobering story, 
Kino, a young Mexican Indian pearl diver, gains 
the world-but nearly loses his soul in the 
   At the onset of the story, a scorpion 
stings Kinos baby boy, Coyotito. The town doctor 
refuses to treat the youngster, because the family 
cant afford to pay the physician what he feels he 
is worth. Juana, Kinos wife, tends to the 
baby herself, applying seaweed to his shoulder 
while Kino goes back to work, diving for oysters. 
One day, he spots an exceptionally large oyster 
that takes his breath away; and inside, he finds 
a pearl the size of a seagulls egg. 
Kinos mind reels with possibilities: Has he found 
the pearl of great price, one that will change 
his familys destiny? 
   This discovery unleashes a chain of 
events in Kinos and Juanas lives. What is 
first perceived as a blessing is soon realized as 
a curse. The pearl buyers conspire against 
Kino, offering far too little for his prized 
possession. Then, in the wee hours of the night, 
would-be thieves attack him. In desperation, Juana 
takes the pearl, hoping to toss it into the sea. 
Kino stops her, though, still hoping the pearl is 
the answer to lifes hardships. 
   In the end, the young couple faces the 
ultimate loss. While trying to protect the pearl, 
their young son is shot and killed. Completely 
broken, Kino and Juana take the large pearl and toss 
it into the depths of the sea, realizing it has 
cost them everything they loved. 
   Steinbeck himself said of this novel, 
If this story is a parable, perhaps everyone 
takes his own meaning from it and reads his own 
life into it. Is that true for us? How many 
times have we longed to gain the world, only to 
lose our very souls? Like Kino, we head into the 
waters of the world in search of fame or fortune. 
But what the world offers pales in comparison to 
the greater things the Lord has for us.  
   For those of us whove traded pieces of 
our souls for worldly treasure, its never too 
late to take that pearl and toss it into 
the murky depths. Theres only one thing worth 
pursuing: our relationship with the King of kings and 
Lord of lords.  
   For what is a man profited, if he shall 
gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or 
what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 
Matthew 16:26 KJV (Book Lovers Devotional by John 
Steinbeck re book The Pearl, p. 144) 

   When blind Bartimaeus heard that Jesus 
was coming through town he began to cry out to 
Jesus, "Jesus have mercy on me." People certainly 
told him to quiet down. But Jesus asked what 
Bartimaeus wanted Him to do. Bartimaeus responded that 
he wanted his sight. From a natural standpoint, 
most people would say that's no surprise. They 
would say that Bartimaeus always wished for his 
sight. It's not a wish that motivates God. It took 
a faith-motivated desire to move Jesus to act. 
   Webster defines desire as a wish, but 
that sells the idea short. Biblical desire is a 
passion built on strong feelings, hunger, or 
longing. Biblical desire is something I've set my 
heart upon enough to sacrifice for it.  
   Many men have come to the recovery 
program over the years who wish for wholeness, but 
there's a distinction between the men who receive it 
and those who don't. What's the difference? The 
difference is some are willing to die to the "life" 
they had lived, so they can be alive to the life 
that only God offers.  
   It's desire that breaks through. Desire 
drives all our action and takes us from here to 
there. Mark 11:24 says, "Therefore I say to you, 
whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that 
you receive them, and you will have them." KJV 
Many have misused these verses, but let me show 
you some good examples of this kind of desirous 
   In Genesis, Jacob wrestled for a 
   In 1 Chronicles, Jabez called out for a 
   In Mark 5 the woman risked rejection to 
touch Jesus garment for a blessing.  
   In Mark 2 four friends dug through a 
ceiling to get their friends to a blessing.  
   All these people knew God could change 
things, and their desire - their longing and hunger 
- moved them in faith to do something.  
   My challenge to you is to dare to desire. 
Receive what God has planned for you. Don't wish for 
God's best. Desire it. Sacrifice for it. Don't 
allow the lie of the enemy to keep you from your 
destiny. He wants you to think you've wasted your 
life and all is lost. In Christ you have been 
made totally new, declared the righteousness of 
God which is in Christ Jesus.  
   What God wanted once for you, he always 
wants for you. Sacrifice for that desire, and He 
will deliver you. Micheal Woods, Executive 
Director Western Carolina Rescue Mission 


Do we fall into the habit of thinking of God 
mostly as severe, unkind and unmerciful?  If so, we 
may have great difficulty expecting good from 
Him.  There is sacrifice and cost in the 
disciple's life. This is true, there is a cross to bear 
and sufferings to identify with and enter into. 
But along with these truths, is the truth that 
God is good by His very nature and His goodness 
flows to His creation and especially to His 
children. When we come to worship our Maker, do we 
come with expectation of good, or do we come with 
a constant burden of the trials we experience? 
To approach our God in worship of Him, without 
expecting good from Him, brings Him dishonor. It is 
only from Him and none other, that good comes to 
us. The ultimate good is His Son, Jesus Christ 
who died for our sins. But there is also a kind 
of good in this life; beauty, wonder, peace, 
joy and so much more. As you approach God, 
expect goodness and mercy, and you will receive it 
abundantly.  [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom] 


Matthew 16:24 - Deny Self - Take Up Your 
Cross - Follow Jesus. 


Matthew 16:24 - Transformation and Really 



If anyone has a paraphrase, commentary or 
testimony on this passage of Scripture, either 
personal or otherwise, I would be interested in 
hearing from you.  Thanks in advance and let's keep 
uplifting Jesus that all might be drawn to Him. Fred 


Most Important Decision in Life: 

A Man without Equal by Bill Bright: 

Seeking God Made Real: 

Prayer Made Real: 

Importance of Choice: 
http://creationhealth.com/CREATION-Health/Choice [click on video]  

Medical Seminar on Healthful Living by David 
DeRose, MD, MPH: 


Lifting Up Jesus Bible Studies: 

Amazing Facts Bible Studies: 

Hope Awakens Bible Study Guides: 

Glow Tract Video Bible Studies: 


Unlocking Bible Prophecies by Cami Oetman of 
Adventist World Radio: 

Hope Awakens by John Bradshaw of IIW: 

The Last Day of Prophecy by Pastor Doug 

Prophecies Decoded by Pastor Ron Clouzet: