“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:34-37
“But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”” 1 Cor. 2:9
“You may…,” the Spirit of God said to me. “You may…,” He continued.
He was referring to both things I was considering doing. Telling me I could do either one of them.
But He wasn’t done yet.
“But this is not my will. Will you do my will instead?”
The Lord was making it perfectly clear I could go the way my flesh wanted to go. Or I could deny my flesh and follow Him. I could do my will. Or His. It was my choice.
The way of self. Or the way of Christ. My way. Or His way.
Friend, the Lord doesn’t force obedience on us. He calls us to it.
But we’re fooling ourselves, and dangerously at that, if we profess to believe in Jesus as Lord and don’t truly surrender our lives to Christ whereby we are committed daily to living a life of love and honor for and obedience to Jesus.
It would have been relatively easy to do the two things I was considering at the time. And the Lord had made abundantly clear He would allow it. But He also made clear His path for me was a different one. And, to be truthful, a much harder and challenging one. Just the same, it would have been His path. For His purpose. For His glory.
I knew which path I would choose. I would choose the way of Christ. The way His Spirit would lead me. Despite the cost to my personal ease and comfort.
Because the life of obedience to Jesus, despite how indescribably challenging it can be to say no to self and yes to God and His ways, comes with the everlasting reward of being in Christ’s forever fellowship, drawing ever closer to Him, become ever more like Him, and looking forward to the rewards stored up for His faithful followers in heaven.
The Lord will let you go the way you choose, friend. But if you call Jesus Christ Lord, if you profess to be a Christian, if you consider yourself born again, if you claim to be headed for heaven, then you need to deny the self life and choose the life of Christ. Of devotedly following the Lord Jesus wherever He may choose to lead you. Now, yes, and forevermore!