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 it is important we realize the context in which Jesus spoken this specific verse. You see Christians today associate the cross with wonderful things such as salvation and redemption, which it does stand for,that is very true and is the backbone of being Christian and truly following Christ. However, we need to realize, the cross existed before Christ’s appearance on earth. It was a horrible death, 6+ hours 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 not experienced this reality. 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 writes and says, I have been crucified with Christ and the life I now live I live in faith of 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. At 100 years against all odds, he became the father of Isaac. Quite similar to us, you may feel 100 years at something you have been fervently and consistently praying for. But are you loyal to the promise or the promise keeper? 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 more than he loved God. You may have already received your breakthrough in whichever area of your life and you may be waiting in another area, but may I submit to you that you need to kill Isaac or be prepared to at least. Our perfect fulfillment should ultimately come from Christ and not anywhere else, it is not a pie to be shared. Imagine a scenario where you are forfeiting what you treasure so much, that financial overflow God promised, giving it all away, waiting on God for that potential life partner but before you can make a substantial move, obeying God to 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 always 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.