Counting the cost
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matthew 16:24-26
The beauty of God’s goodness and holiness should compel us to fall down before Him in worship and service. From the text, the Lord Jesus Christ addresses the concern of His disciples which was self-preservation. It is a normal desire to improve one’s circumstances. But God calls His disciples to learn how to give up comfort for the sake of something or Someone far more important than easy living. The cross may symbolize many things, but it never suggests ease. Jesus challenges us to a thoughtful, cross-carrying life. Such a life requires discipline and rigorous training. Jesus added that this is the only way we can find our true selves. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” The world’s slogan seemed to be, “I just want to find myself. I’ve got to be me.” This enticing conceit, which led so many youth astray, has done equal damage to older generations as well. A husband walked out on his wife of thirty-seven years with no other justification than, “I have to find myself.” But God’s way is the opposite for it is by losing self for His sake that we gain life and life eternal. “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24). Then, to be sure He is understood, He adds, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). Jesus’ words would clash with today’s popular ethics. Jesus turns things around. First comes the losing, then the finding. Like seed falling to the ground, first comes the dying, then the living. Then He concluded with this; “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” What good is it to gain the whole world? The Lord Jesus Christ came to this world so He could please the Father, so are Christians. We are to live determined to please Him.