"Give It Up"

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By: Kristen Sigmon
Matthew 16:24-26, “… Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and 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. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (NASB)

Have you ever wanted something really badly and thought if you could just get it you would be happy? That’s how I was with a boyfriend. I thought if I had one, then I would be happy and fulfilled.

Guess what? I got him. However, I got so consumed with him that I spent every waking hour with him. Yeah, God was still in my life. However, I put God on the back burner while I let my relationship warm up and become my priority.

Do you know what God does when we get so wrapped up in something that we lose sight of Him and allow that thing to have priority over Him? He does whatever it takes to move that person or thing out of first place in our lives. God does not want any competing loves. He wants to be first in our hearts now and always. Exodus 34:14 says, “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (NIV). Anything that comes before God in our lives is a “god” or an idol.

God wants to give us good things in life, but He doesn’t want those things to become more important than Him.

Today’s verse says whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Jesus’ sake will find it. In order to follow Jesus and find true life, we must be willing to “lose” our lives for Him. This may mean literally losing our lives for Jesus’ sake, but it also may be understood metaphorically, as in my example. My boyfriend had become my life. Then Jesus asked me, “Kristen, would you be willing to give up your boyfriend to follow Me? Who is more important to you – him or Me?”

The idea of giving up everything to follow Jesus sounds absurd. Isn’t life about doing what makes us happy and having what we want? That’s what the world tells us. Yet, being a follower of Jesus means doing absurd things, making radical choices, living a life that is different from the rest of the world, being willing to do whatever He asks of us.

Think about your own life. What do you need to be willing to give up in order to follow Jesus wholeheartedly? A boyfriend? A bad habit like cheating on tests or being dishonest with others to gain their approval? A sinful attitude, such as disrespecting your parents? It doesn’t have to be something bad; it could be something good. Are you willing to give up even the good to get something even better?

When you give up your “life” for Jesus, He replaces it with a new life that’s better than you could imagine. This doesn’t mean an easy, happy life but it does mean more joy, hope, love, peace and unexpected surprises from God than you would ever find living life your own way.

Which will you choose – living your life for yourself or for Jesus?

Dear Jesus, I want to live my life for You and not for myself. Show me if there’s anything I need to let go of to follow You. My life is in Your hands. Thank You for loving me. Help me to love You more and follow You wholeheartedly. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Jesus?

God Girl: Becoming the Woman You’re Meant to Be by Hailey DiMarco

Think About It:

What things do you hold onto in your life? What would you have a hard time giving up if Jesus called you to leave everything and follow Him?

Is He calling You now? Are you willing to give up these things now in order to follow Jesus?

Live It:

Write down the things that you are holding onto. Journal about why each of these is so important to you. Ask Jesus to show you why He is more important than these things and why you should find fulfillment in Him instead of everything else.

Power Verses:

Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)

Colossians 3:2-3, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (NIV)

© 2007-2010 by Kristen Sigmon. All rights reserved.

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