Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24
This verse initially feels like a difficult road to travel. I have learned that following Jesus requires sacrifice — denying the flesh and giving up my desires for His sake. That mindset is heavy to bear, and admittedly I may feel compelled or forced to do these things just so that I can follow Him.
I’m always overwhelmed by my present responsibilities — finances, work, household management — and I’m also worried about the future. My human instinct wants to solve every problem and anticipate every future scenario, but I realize that it’s impossible to do that. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to feel tired and weary with life.
But today, I realize that denying myself in order to come after Jesus also involves giving up my current burdens. Jesus is telling me that as I follow Him, I can surrender all of my burdens unto Him. Not only is He able to address all of them, but He already has plans in store for me. Viewing the verse in this light makes me eager to deny myself and take up the cross that God has laid out for me.
I know that following Jesus won’t erase my problems, but I hold on to the confidence that His power and grace will help me carry my burdens. He is willing to accept my heavy load, and that’s why I choose to surrender them all — problems, worries, desires and wants — to Him.
As I was writing this, I was reminded by this song by Lincoln Brewster entitled “Surrender”. It perfectly captures what my heart wants to say about surrendering everything to Jesus. I hope this song speaks to you in the same way that it did to me.