Years ago, if I was writing this reflection, it would have been very important to me that I would write the message and words so that you would like what I say and even think kindly of me. Even today, my personality of a people pleaser would want that but as I have been growing in my faith, that is really not important. Sharing God’s truth with love is what is important to me and the reactions of readers can go many ways.
Today is one of those days when scripture brings to my mind pain, suffering and death. All three I would have easily wanted to avoid at all cost through most of my life. Today, I try to embrace them all and give all the praise and glory to God. In today’s Gospel passage from Matthew 16:24-28, Jesus speaks to me and His disciples…
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?”
In my 64 years of the life that I have been given by God, 31 of them as a Christian, it is no longer important to me what the world says I should do or who I should be. It is really all about following Jesus at all costs. I know I am still a great sinner, filled with selfishness and desires of the flesh. But I also know, by the grace of God, that I will never give up seeking holiness and dying to myself. It is my cross that I will pick up each day and follow the person I love most, Jesus. And of course, I know He loves me.