Matthew 16.2424 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 NIV)

I’m so thankful for a little booklet someone gave me when I first came to know Jesus. The booklet was called, “My Heart Christ’s Home.” It’s a story about a man who met Jesus at his home and Jesus asked him to how Him around his house. In each room they visited—the study, dining room, rec room, work room, and living room, there were changes that needed to be made if Jesus was going to live there with the man. Then Jesus came to a hall closet that was locked. Jesus asked the man for the key and the man was hesitant. He said,   

I was angry. That’s the only way I can put it. I had given Him access to the library, the dining room, the living room, the workroom, the playroom, and now He was asking me about a little two-by-four closet. I said to myself, “This is too much. I am not going to give Him the key.”

Eventually he did give Jesus the key and the freedom to clean out all of the old, dead remnants of his life before he knew Jesus that he was holding onto. It’s a powerful story, not about a house, but about our hearts. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” I’ve been walking with the Lord for more than 30 years now and each new day the Lord invites me to deny myself, to say “No!” to my flesh, my wants and desires, and follow Him.

Even after all of these years I’m continuing to learn that real freedom is not going after what I want, but it is found in walking as closely as possible with Jesus. I’ve also learned that denying myself doesn’t get easier as time goes along. Choosing to deny myself is dependent on my intimacy with Jesus. So, today I’ll choose to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus. I hope you will join me.


52 Weeks 52 Verses: Week 27
Matthew 16:24
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