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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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]
LINKS FOR FURTHER STUDY ON THIS PASSAGE
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
LINKS WORTH CHECKING OUT
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:
LINKS FOR BIBLE STUDIES
Lifting Up Jesus Bible Studies:
Amazing Facts Bible Studies:
Hope Awakens Bible Study Guides:
Glow Tract Video Bible Studies:
LINKS FOR BIBLE PROPHECY SEMINARS
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: