Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
As we read this particular Bible verse, we must know the context in which Jesus spoke these words. You see, Christians today associates the cross with beautiful things such as salvation and redemption, which are the backbone of being a Christian and a faithful follower of Christ. However, we need to realize that the cross existed before Christ’s appearance on the earth. It was a horrible death, six hours plus of pain and humiliation. When Christ said you must take up your cross and follow him, he had not yet died on the cross, so the audience listening would not have associated these words with salvation because they had no connection of the cross with redemption. They associated this cross with death and with pain, as should we. Because the cross is where things die. You must die to your flesh. Paul wrote and said that; I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave His life for me. Galatians 2:20.
But that’s what it means to follow Jesus. That is the cost. We, therefore, must strive to kill the desires of our flesh. Take Abraham, the father of faith as an example; At 100 years against all the odds, he became the father of Isaac. Quite similar to us, you may feel 100 years as the time is taken praying for something fervently and consistently. But are you loyal to the promise given or the promise giver?
Abraham must have been in utter disbelief when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac. But it was a test to know if he loved the promise(Isaac) more than he loved the promise giver (God). You may have already received your breakthrough in whichever area of your life, and you may be waiting in another, but may I submit to you that you need to kill Isaac or be prepared to.
Our perfect fulfillment should ultimately come from Christ and not anywhere else, it is not a cake to be shared. Imagine a scenario where you are forfeiting what you treasure so much. Think of that financial overflow God promised, gave you yet giving it all away? Waiting on God for that potential life partner but before you can make a substantial move, would you obey God in a life of celibacy if He asks that of you? And the list can go on and on.
Tough, I know. But we can always have the peace of mind that we are not alone. God is still standing with us every step of the way. Just like with fire, difficult circumstances tend to refine us like precious metals. Take time to examine your heart and know your Isaac, and know that you need to be prepared to kill him. Love the promise giver more than you love the promise.