Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, (Jesus) said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” – Mark 8:34-37 New Living Translation
Mark’s original audience for his gospel was the Romans. They knew all too well what ‘taking up your cross’ meant. It was a form of execution. So this phrase meant simply that they must die to themselves. This is the ultimate submission. It is required of us as well. Jesus tells his listeners to ‘give up your own way’. Those who strive to keep their own way of living will lose it.
Believers shouldn’t give up their own life because their life is useless, quite the contrary; not even life itself can compare to all that is gained by submitting to the will of Christ in our lives. Those who strive for worldly success will lose their soul in the process. They don’t realize this, which is why God doesn’t send anyone to hell; they go of their own volition. Their ignorance as to what is truth and what is a lie is their undoing.
The pleasures of this world are for but a season; the abundant life that accompanies following Jesus is unmatched, all that plus eternal life too. Nothing this side of heaven can compare with the blessings that await those who faithfully serve the Lord. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Resource: The Life Application Study Bible