When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
Mark 8:34-35 NKJV
Desire Jesus, deny self, take up cross, follow Jesus.
8:34-38 Frequent notice is taken of the great flocking there was to Christ for help in various cases. All are concerned to know this, if they expect him to heal their souls. They must not indulge the ease of the body. As the happiness of heaven with Christ, is enough to make up for the loss of life itself for him, so the gain of all the world in sin, will not make up for the ruin of the soul by sin. And there is a day coming, when the cause of Christ will appear as glorious, as some now think it mean and contemptible. May we think of that season, and view every earthly object as we shall do at that great day.
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
He spake that saying openly – With boldness or confidence, or without parables or figures, so that there could be no possibility of misunderstanding him.
Verse 35. – Because the cross is sharp and afflicting, our Lord animates his followers to bear it by the thought of its great and everlasting rewards. The meaning of the verse is this: he who by trying to shun the cross and to escape self-denial would save his life here, will lose it hereafter. But he who loses his life here for the sake of Christ, either by dying in his cause or by denying and mortifying his lusts out of love for him, he in the life to come shall find his life in the bosom of Christ and in eternal joy.
Herein we have a most certain choice, another battle, between the old man and the new man that wars within the born again believer. The old, though still required to sustain life, is the flesh and represents the fallen man, the corrupt system. Yes, he can muster up some temporary good but nonetheless is ultimately condemned for the inherent flaw of the great fall of Adam and Eve. The new man is fashioned after Christ. So we actually increase our presence, influence, and righteousness by ignoring the old and focusing on the new. Less of the old me and more of the new me, one that strives to follow the lead of the Spirit of God, is what is necessary. We each have our own mini cross (mini compared to the infinite one Jesus bore successfully) which we are instructed to carry down the narrow path to eternal life which is lined with flowers and weeds, thorns and splendor, peaks and valleys.
Onward Christian soldier!
Lord, I am counting on You to sustain me. Without Your care and support, i am doomed to fail on my own. I know You have, are and shall do the heavy lifting for I am Your adopted child whom Your Word says You love.