Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 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 he has done. Matthew 16:24-27 (NIV)
You once went on a long journey of many months and thousands of miles to find yourself. Yes, I did. Did you find what you were looking for in yourself? No, I did not. What did you find? Something ironic happened to me. Before I set out on my journey to find myself, you found me. You drew me to yourself. I confessed my sins to you. I asked you to come into my life. I may have asked you to be my Savior and Lord. But I’m not sure. I had so little understanding of what had taken place. I now know that on the day I turned my life over to you, you did come into my life. Your Holy Spirit came to live and dwell in me. You forgave my sin. You cleansed my unrighteousness. You made me your own. You adopted me into my family. You did become my Savior and Lord. That was many years ago, almost a full lifetime ago. Yes, I did all these things for you.
Where have you gone and what have you done since the day you asked me to come into your life as your Savior and Lord. You may not remember clearly, but you did ask me to be your Savior and Lord. Since that day, I have been loving and following and serving you. Have I loved you fully? Have I followed you perfectly? Have I served you completely? The answer would be no. But it is the desire of my heart to deny myself, take up the cross and follow you. I want to go wherever you guide me. I want to do whatever you ask of me. Does this desire come from a sense of obligation? Do I want to live my life being fully devoted to you because I should or must? Am I willing to take up the cross and follow you in order to satisfy some requirement? No, I want to live a life that is good and right and pleasing to you because I love you with all my heart and mind and soul and strength. My love for you motivates my desire to deny myself, take up the cross and follow you. So, it does not feel like a heavy obligation or herculean sacrifice to me. I am following you to where you lead to do what you ask of me because it is the desire of my heart and mind and soul. With all that is within me, I want to live my life with and for you. That is very good.
I have more to say. I am listening. So, I hope to lose myself in serving you. I will not pursue the world and all that it has to offer. I will live a life that is fully devoted to you. I will bear fruit for your kingdom. I will bring glory to your name as you work in and through me. Yes, you will. So, I have found myself by losing myself in loving and following and serving you. That is very good. Yes, it is. Thank you, Lord.
Lord, I have come after you. I have given my life to you. You are my Savior and Lord. I will go and do whatever you ask of me. I will deny myself, take up the cross, and follow and serve you. Help me to bear fruit for your kingdom and bring glory to your name. Amen
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