Have you ever told the Lord it feels like you’re sacrificing too much for Him? Or perhaps you’ve not admitted it, but it feels that way. I have gotten to a point like that. I’ve thought, what about me? When do I get what I want or have been praying for? When do I get time for myself? I can’t believe He is asking me to give up THAT. Jesus was very direct about this: “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25). Jesus addressed this life in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
The life we lose is nothing compared to what we gain when we choose Him over all else. Choosing Him will not be easy. Jesus warned His disciples about this frequently. It will involve sacrifices on our behalf. It could be small things; it could be big things. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his dearly loved son, Isaac. Daniel was willing to sacrifice his life and freedom to prioritize the Lord in daily prayer. The benefits reaped from our daily decision to pick up our cross and follow Jesus and place Him above all else are eternal. It will cost us our whole lives, but that is the whole point. Anything we gain in this life that we cling to and don’t want to give up in order to pick up our cross is a temporary thing. It’s not eternal. Only Jesus can give that sort of life. The abundant life Jesus died for so we could have can only come through Him. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
David Livingstone, a great missionary and physician called to Africa in the mid-1800s, said of sacrifice and self-denial, “People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of what a great debt owed to God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own best reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and the bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? I never made a sacrifice!”
Ask yourself today what areas you are clinging to in your life that are inhibiting you from picking up your cross and following Him. What areas in your life are you prioritizing over the Lord? Go to Him in prayer today and ask Him for strength in letting these things go and let Him know you are all in!