And He said to all, if any one desires to come after Me,
let him deny himself and take up his cross daily,
and let him follow Me. (also matthew 16:24 and mark 8:34)
At first, this scripture might sound sort of scary to a christian, but let's break it down for you;
First, do you have a DESIRE to come after Christ??
If you answered YES, you are off to a good start!! And believe me, that desire did not originate from you, God gave that to you.
( see John 6:44, John 10:27) So you see God gave you the desire in the first place and will also give you the Grace to succeed in the next steps;
DENY YOURSELF, now what does that mean? Where did we all come from, what are we all used to doing? We are all descendants of Adam and used to doing what he did, mainly whatever we wanted. Remember as a kid the "you can do it, i did it"
or "the you can't tell me what to do", or the " i know better.." we grew up and by nature did what our flesh wanted us to do, to satisfy it's desires( ephesians 2:3 ) So we were used to living a selfish, self centered life. we may have been nice sometimes, but always looking out for self as #1.
So practically this means, deny the self in you, deny living according to the flesh, living by i want...
Truthfully looking at the outcome of our selfish lifes, we got into the mess we are in now...
And Jesus himself gave us the perfect example; when faced with the prospects of dying on the cross, he prayed to His Father and
said; Father if it be possible, let this cup pass by, nevertheless, NOT MY WILL, BUT THINE BE DONE. ( Luke 22:42 )
So by the Grace of God you can practice denying what comes naturally, just say NO to self.
Practice, practice and more training. at first you will catch yourself doing what comes naturally, but by practicing and training it will become a habit...DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED if you keep falling back, just get up and deny self, you will get better at it...
Take up your cross, espessially at first it will feel like a cross, maybe even a very heavy one, but it will become more of a joy later
once you start experiancing the results. Simply put it means; Doing God's Will, what God wants
So what is God's will for you? This may seem mysterious but really it's not. (read colossians 3:5-15, galatians 5:15-26 )
The biggest is love, love your neighbor as yourself, do unto others as you would want them to do to you, count others better than yourselfs,
Here you can practice;
instead of TRUSTING YOURSELF, TRUST GOD AND HIS PROMISES
instead of LOOKING OUT FOR #1, LOOK OUT FOR OTHERS
instead of WHAT DO I WANT?, WHAT DOES GOD WANT?
instead of WHAT THE FLESH WANTS WHAT DOES THE SPIRIT WANT?
instead of LYING TELLING THE TRUTH
instead of BULLYING OTHERS HELP THEM, COUNT THEM BETTER
instead of LISTENING TO MY FEELINGS LISTEN TO MY CONSCIENCE
just to give a few examples
DAILY; This is not a once and done thing, but a daily practice. Every day we get up( that God wakes us ) we start fresh!!
And then and then only are we REALLY COMING AFTER HIM, leaving the old self behind, putting to death what is earthly in us,
And we will be free to do His will.
And keep your eyes and mind on the outcome; 1 Peter 1:9 obtaining the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls
And by practicing Luke 9:23 you will become more and more like Jesus.
Also read luke 9:24+25
And read romans 8:5-14
Jesus will help you do what he wants from you!