Updated: Oct 15, 2019
“Then Jesus told His disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”” Matthew 16:24-25 ESV
In order to follow Christ fully, one must be willing to die to themselves. Now, it is important to realize that the Bible is filled with poetry, literal context and metaphors. Something such as “losing your life” simply means denying self. In order to live entirely for Christ, we must be willing to lay down any and everything that revolves around our carnal desires, ways and selfish motives.
It must be done and accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
This may sound impossible to the non-Christian or the beginning believer; and it is: in our own strength. It must be done and accomplished by the Holy Spirit. He is the One Who does this transforming work that no one else can do. He is the One Who changes our desires and sets our mind on things above. He is the One Who brings understanding and wisdom. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can smite self and become the righteous saints we are called to be, through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Self is simply a heart that contains an ego ruled by pride.
What is self? Self is simply a heart that contains an ego ruled by pride. In order to be full of the Spirit, we must strip ourselves entirely of all that self is: self-ambition, self-centeredness, self-obsession, self-serving, self-desires, self-gain, self-motives, self-glorification, self-righteousness, self-seeking, self-interest and self-worth. These are an abomination in the sight of God; and it takes a sense of humility to come to such a conclusion that we truly can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15:5).
Good done by non-believers has no eternal weight.
Now, this is not to say that good cannot be done apart from Christ. There are many non-believers who do good for the world; however, since it is not done or dedicated to Christ, it will burn come Judgment Day. Anything that is not dedicated to Christ falls prey and will be susceptible to having no eternal weight behind it.
Everything that is done for Him is technically done by Him when we are believers in Him.
What is Jesus saying in Matthew 16:24-25, then? He is simply stating that in order to be a Christian, one must say goodbye to the world, repent of their sins and follow Him. The life that follows Christ is one worth striving for. Everything that is done for Him is technically done by Him when we are believers in Him. When we make the imperative decision of choosing to believe in Christ, “The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all” (1 Corinthians 12:7). All good that is done for Christ is done by Christ when we have His Spirit dwelling within our temple.
The life of God in the soul of man.
It is a fascinating concept. The life of God in the soul of man. How marvelous it is to walk in the midst of this chaotic and dark world and know that God not only is beside us, behind us, and in front of us; He is inside us. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV). May God’s Spirit forever direct us towards His promises. May He give us the power to lay down that which is hindering our walk in Christ. Dying to self is not an action dreaded, but is a liberating freedom that gives us hope for what lies ahead. We no longer live in fear; we live in Christ’s power through Christ’s blood.
It’s time to say goodbye to carnal ways, in order to invest in eternal days.
We are no longer slaves to fear, for we are the children of God. Let this Truth wash over us and make us anew. It’s time to say goodbye to carnal ways, in order to invest in eternal days. This life is bound to come with scoffers, mockers and persecutors; but I say, let them come. For the Christian has already faced the greatest death, and that’s death to oneself. Our name is now written in the Book of Life, and when our lives are done here on earth, we will ascend into our eternal home with the glorious King, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah.