“If a man wishes to come after Me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in My footsteps.” –Matthew 16:24

Jesus “makes no bones” about it. If we are to be Christians, we must deny our very selves (Mt 16:24). This is not an option but a necessity. In fact, we must deny ourselves to the point of taking up a daily cross (Lk 9:23). We must simply lose our lives (Mt 16:25) by being crucified with Christ (Gal 2:19). The lives we live become no longer our own, but lives “of faith in the Son of God, Who loved” us and gave His life for us (Gal 2:20).

If anyone other than Jesus announced that we must lose our lives, we would be understandably distressed. However, when Jesus tells us to deny our selves and lose our lives, we should feel honored, privileged, and thankful. “Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of?” (Dt 4:32) We’re not doing the Lord a favor by answering His call; He is doing us a favor by calling us. One day in the Lord’s courts is better than a thousand elsewhere (Ps 84:11). The Lord didn’t have to create, include, or talk to us. He is giving us mercy and blessings when He gives us the opportunity to work, live, and die for Him. Give your entire life to Jesus and thank Him for such a privilege.

PRAYER: Father, thank You for the privilege of suffering for love of You.

PROMISE: “Out of the heavens He let you hear His voice to discipline you.” –Dt 4:36

PRAISE: St. Cajetan built God’s Kingdom among the sick and poor by ministering God’s love.

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