01 Mar The Great Exchange for What’s Valuable
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? Mark 8:34-37
Jesus explained to the crowd and His disciples that if they were serious about following Him, they would have to be willing to give up many things in this life. He was calling them to a life of discipline and self-denial. But he was also explaining the secret of contentment and fulfillment when he said that ‘whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will save it.’
He’s talking about making an earthly exchange for a heavenly exchange. This life will pass away and all of the things that this world has to offer. That’s why he says: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” Every day people are making huge mistakes that are based on valuing things that have no eternal value. They forfeit eternal rewards and lasting fulfillment for things in this life that are fleeting and have no lasting satisfaction.
Just moments earlier he had explained to his disciples that he was destined to be killed but then would rise again three days later. He was then communicating that they all have a cross to carry; and if they’ll see the power of laying their life down for his sake and the gospel, then they will discover the true place of contentment in this life.
I hear the Lord calling me to a greater level of commitment to Him. Every day there are things that I need to deny myself of in order to be about His business. Serious discipleship has a cost, and I must be willing to obey my Lord and follow Him regardless of the cost.
I need to deny myself in order to embrace the rich life of prayer He’s calling me to. I need to deny myself when I am called upon to serve the people God has placed in my life. I need to deny myself in order to be a life long learner. He’s reminding me that there will be great rewards, not just in this life, but also in eternity as I deny myself, take up my cross and follow Him.
Lord Jesus, I set my heart to follow you. Fill me with your Spirit today and help me to walk with you. Help me to see how my choices to deny myself will bring life for others through my prayers and words of encouragement. Help me to be sensitive to your voice so that I may respond quickly to your will. Thank you for reminding me of the eternal implications of my choices.