Scripture: Mark 8:27-38
Observation: Peter calls Jesus the “Messiah,” Jesus predicts his own death, and then teaches us what it looks like to truly follow him – it starts with picking up our cross.
Application: Because I practically live in my college town, it’s pretty to reenact the “glory days” of my former college life. Some days when I’m feeling particularly nostalgic, I’ll throw on college girl uniform (AKA a black NorthFace, boots, leggings, and Longchamp bag), and drive myself over to the University of Delaware, which is the greatest college town in America. (Don’t even try to argue with me. #bluehensforlife) Thankfully, I’m short and have the eternal curse of looking ten years younger than I actually am (a curse that I become more and more okay with the closer I get to age 30), so it’s pretty easy to pretend I’m 21 again and that my biggest life problem is how to get from Kirkbride to Pearson in 15 minutes so I’m not late for my next class. #thestrugglewassonotreal
While it’s fun to be nostalgic, it turns out that nostalgia doesn’t really get me anywhere. I end up holding on to an old life that doesn’t hold much for me anymore.
Holding onto your old life rather than embracing your new one through Jesus is a lot like that. We end up holding onto something we think will fulfill us, only to find out that it’s not who we are anymore. Look how Jesus puts it in verses 34-36:
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, 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?”
I think what Jesus is saying here is when you lose, you win. When you lose yourself – your old ways, your old habits, your old selfish desires – you win. After all, what good is to have everything you think you want but lose your soul in the process?
Is anything really worth more than your soul? On an average day, when you’re bombarded with so many opportunities and temptations and desires from so many people and things of this world, it may seem like it. But the truth is it isn’t worth it. There’s no thought, behavior, destructive relationship, or “blast from the past” that is truly worth more than your soul and living a life with Jesus.
Let go of your old life today. When you pick up your cross and lose your old life, you also gain so much more – security and eternity with Jesus Christ, our King.
Prayer: God, I pray you’ll help me take up my cross, subdue my own desires, and follow you fully. I pray I’ll lay everything else aside to follow you as leader and lord of my life. Amen.