‘Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”’ Matthew 13:31Last week we looked at some of the parables about the Kingdom of Heaven and saw among other things that Jesus speaks about the cost being everything you have. (See Matthew 13: 44-46). Today Jesus speaks about denying yourself and taking up the cross if you want to follow Jesus, if you want to be a disciple.
The concept of taking up your cross is difficult for us to comprehend, yet we can understand what it means to ‘deny yourself’. It is about putting Christ first in all our decisions, making him the priority. To deny yourself goes against everything that we stand for as a society. Our materialism wants us to look after ourselves first and then look after others.
Now in some situations such as on an airline it is valid, and yes in looking after children we need to make sure we are well enough to look after them. But those attitudes seem to flow into all areas of our life. It is against the culture of our society to deny yourself, yet that is what we are called to do.
This is not about making yourself nothing, we are special to the Lord, we have an important contribution to make to God’s Kingdom, he has given us gifts that he wants us to use for the common good, but we are called not make ourselves the top priority, nor the major focus in our lives.
This week spend some time reflecting what it would mean for you to deny yourself in your relationships.