Daily Devotions

Daily Devotions

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” vs. 24

Matthew 16:24-28

It must have appeared to the disciples that Jesus had performed a classic “bait and switch” on them. They had begun to follow him because they believed him to be the messiah, the one who would restore Israel to its former glory. As his initial followers then, they seem to have felt that they would enjoy positions of power and prestige in that kingdom. But then he tells them the truth – there’d be no glory for them. Instead, if they were so inclined to follow him, they’d be walking on the path of self-denial – and carrying crosses besides! That’s always been a toughie for those who are drawn to Jesus. We aren’t huge fans of self-denial, especially in our age of self-indulgence and over-the-top consumption. Even when we’re told that in order to save the planet we need to adopt simplicity as a life-style, we seem unable to make any commitments that might involve self-sacrifice. But Jesus knew that human life flourishes in the presence of self-giving love and sacrificial service. He gave his own life that we might have life and have it abundantly, and it’s as we lay down our lives for the sake of others, that we begin to find and save our lives. Our sacrifice is a down payment on spiritual health and wholeness.

Thought for the Day: How do I practice self-denial?


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