37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Matt 10:37-39 (NIV)

This begs a question of us all does it not – do the choices we make in our lives prove worthy of this Jesus? Are we willing to forsake all and trust Him? He calls every follower to this high standard through the power of the Spirit. Jesus intends to be our interest above all interests. He will not share His rightful throne with any other – no matter what or who it is. He is to be our life and our sufficiency. We are to find our identity in Him and not in the lesser things of nature.

“Many who make a great profession of religion and abound in the exercise of devotion, are yet ruined by the love of the world. These covetous Pharisees could not bear to have that touched, which was their Delilah, their darling lust; for this they derided him, they turned up their noses at him, or blew their noses on him. It is an expression of the utmost scorn and disdain imaginable. They laughed at him for going so contrary to the opinion and way of the world. It is common for those to make a joke of the word of God who are resolved that they will not be ruled by it.” Matthew Henry

If following Christ is worth anything, it is worth everything. These are our Lord’s terms both for our good and His glory. Whatever we part with for this Pearl of great prize, we can be assured that it is well worth it. God will be no man’s debtor. The Apostle Paul had this down pat. He considered his accomplishments and pedigree – both exalted by the world’s standards by the way – as rubbish compared to the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. Nothing else really mattered to him any longer - especially to the point of living for them – he chose Christ and that, Jesus states, should be every disciple’s choice. Paul’s practice is presented to us in Philippians. We would do well to follow in his footsteps:

7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Phil 3:7-11 (NIV)

“God will be our compensation for every sacrifice we have made.” F. B. Meyer

While we are certainly to love those nearest and dearest to us, this affection must not rise above that of our love for the Lord Jesus. We are such stupid sheep; we can make “gods” out of anything – even our own children. God, Who brought us out of slavery by the precious blood of Jesus, both deserves and desires to be first in our lives. I am reminded of the first commandment:

6 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 7 You shall have no other gods before me.” Deut 5:6-7 (NIV)

Lastly, we are told to take up our crosses and follow after Christ. Criminals at that time in Rome were made to carry their own crosses as a demonstration of admission that the Roman Empire was correct in executing the death sentence on them. Likewise, in carrying our crosses we demonstrate Jesus’ right over our lives. We are not our own. We were bought with a high price. Therefore, we are to honor our Lord with our choices. Taking hold of the life that is truly life is only discovered in the dying of self and the living for Him.

“Your cross is prepared and appointed for you by divine love, and you are to accept it cheerfully; you are to carry the cross as your chosen badge and burden, and not to stand judging it too severely...Jesus bids you to submit your shoulder to His easy yoke. Don’t kick at it in petulance, or trample on it in vain conceit, or fall under it in despair, or run away from it in fear, but take it up like a true follower of Jesus. Jesus was a cross bearer; He leads the way in the path of sorrow. Surely you could not desire a better guide! And if He carried a cross, what nobler burden would you desire? The Via Crucis is the way of safety; don’t be afraid to tread its thorny paths...Carry your cross, and by the power of the Spirit of God you will soon be so in love with it, that like Moses, you would not exchange the reproach of Christ for all the treasures of Egypt. Remember that Jesus carried it, and it will smell sweetly; remember that it will soon be followed by the crown, and the thought of the coming weight of glory will greatly lighten the present heaviness of trouble.” Charles H. Spurgeon

Christ showed us the way of the cross and as we follow Him, He leads us victoriously through our sufferings to our glory. I am reminded of Paul’s words to the Romans:

15 “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:15-17 (NIV)

What I Glean

  • Jesus is to be on the throne of my life – everything else is to be under His feet.
  • Following Christ is worth everything.
  • I am to share in Jesus’ sufferings in order that I might also share in His glory.