The Most Important Thing Is To Follow The Plan
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 16:25-26 "Will find it…" Many look at this passage with a groan. Taking up one's cross doesn't sound encouraging, does it? You imagine the Lord leading you through paths you don't want to go on. You entertain thoughts of having to give up everything you love. Even to the best of believers, this whole passage may elicit a reluctant compliance, accepted with a heavy heart. The Lord is not going to change his Word to make it sound any different, there IS a cross to bear. Take the story of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus asking what he must do. Jesus told this man to go and sell all he had and give it to the poor, then come follow him. "But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." Matthew 19:22 The most fearful part of that story is that Jesus didn't argue with him, he didn't try to explain about what following him is all about, he ...let him go. We have free will and God will never deny us the right to choose. In fact, he insists on it. If a person is not willing to forsake all and follow him, then the Lord will let that person go, without an argument. The person won't lose his salvation - salvation is a free gift. But he will forfeit God's will and plan for his life and will stand in regret later when he sees "what could have been." What many do not understand is that Jesus is showing the way to the ultimate success that can be had by following him. We tend to stumble at the words, "take up your cross." Who wouldn't? But we don't finish the Scripture. Hidden in this command are the words, "whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Here, he isn't speaking of losing one's life in martyrdom. Some will be martyred, we know that, but that's not what he means here. What he means is that when a person totally humbles himself before God and surrenders his life to him, that "loss" leads to ..."will find it." What does that mean? God has created us uniquely distinct from each other. Each soul is a work of God, right down to the person's DNA. They say there are no two snowflakes alike, and likewise, there are no two human beings alike, our DNA makes each one unique. God has fashioned each one's personality, each one's gifts and talents, each one's types of interest, each one's individual potential, with a life-plan specifically drawn up for that individual. When a person surrenders all this to the Lord, the Lord begins a work of developing all that makes up the person, bringing every facet of his life to success. Happiness is discovering what his unique plan is, and following him to the fulfillment of it, accepting whatever might be the cost - because the powers of hell will try to discourage him to the point where he gives it up. But the one who follows Christ no matter what ...will find a life they never would have had otherwise, and not only here – the reward is eternal. Why then does the Lord precede all this with such scary words? Cross. "Will lose it." "Deny oneself." Because in order for someone to reach his potential, his total success, only God can lead the way. Otherwise, man is left to himself ...and especially under the influence of Satan the great enemy ...man will mess it up every time. There is no way a human being has the necessary "smarts" to walk through that minefield and reach that success on his own, Satan will see to that. But when a person is totally submitted to the Lord, then it will not be Satan taking over, it will the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ taking over, and under his lead each one will be brought to his highest potential according to the way God has made him. By surrendering his life, he "finds it!"