Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
— Jesus Christ, the Lord. – Luke 9:23-26 (NKJV)
Many have a desire to follow Jesus Christ, but how many do so by being ‘all in’ the way Jesus says His followers must be? Jesus speaks of three components to being ‘all in’, and they are only optional if you choose not to trust and believe Jesus Christ by taking Him at His word.
The first component of being ‘all in’ requires our denying ourselves. This means that we give final authority and ownership of our lives to Jesus Christ Himself. This is where many who name the name of Jesus Christ get stuck and wonder why they aren’t experiencing the power of God in their lives. This is because they either haven’t been told or taught that Jesus said this, or they have been deceived into thinking that we can call Jesus Lord without our actually doing what He says. Jesus warns us about the danger of doing this:
“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
— Jesus Christ, the Lord.– Luke 6:46-49 (NLT)
Walking out this giving final authority and ownership of our lives to Jesus Christ involves the second component, which is daily taking up our cross. This speaks of learning and daily choosing to do what pleases Him as well as not doing what displeases Him. Jesus refers to this as “taking up our cross” because we are to daily put to death and not act upon any desires or plans that do not line up with the will of God, whether in general or specific to our lives. This is about resisting temptation to sin which we all deal with, but also about following Jesus wherever He leads us, which is the third component.
Following Jesus means learning to discern and follow His leading. This doesn’t mean we don’t plan, strategize and think things through, but rather it is about truly making all of our plans subject to the will and timing of God.
Notice how each of these components are so closely related and linked together. If we push through with our desires and plans without truly seeking and actually getting the mind of the Lord, we are in reality retaining ownership and final authority of our lives instead of voluntarily surrendering it to Jesus as He requires of those who have a desire to follow Him. If we continue to retain that ownership by acting upon the desires that God calls sin, then we are not “daily taking up our cross”. No matter what we say we believe about Jesus, if we continue to live that kind of lifestyle, it shows that we aren’t really ‘all in’. If we are not ‘all in’ we are not truly following Him.
May God bless you,