Jesus Christ often spoke to His people about denying yourself and “bearing your cross”. What did He mean by that? Jesus meant that we must learn that doing the work of the Kingdom of God involves sacrifices that must be made in order to fulfill the assignments that Jehovah God has given us His people. These sacrifices will not always be pleasant to do, but we must have faith that YHWH will help us and rewards us for our faithfulness and self-denial. Jesus gave a summary of the cost of doing Kingdom work, the cost of fulfilling selfish desires, and the rewards of the faithful in Matthew 16: 24-27 (NIV):
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.”
Jesus also taught that self-denial involves more than just having discipline to deny yourself things that would hinder the assignment YWHW has given you, but also denying your family and friend’s sinful behavior. This is found in Luke 14: 26-27 (NIV):
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even own life-he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Here Jesus is not giving any believer to hate his own family or friends, for YHWH and Jesus are not about hating your fellow man. What Jesus is saying simply is that we are not to condone the sinful behavior of our family and friends. We are to love them regardless of their faults, but we as believers in YHWH are not to condone nor partake in their sins. Simply put, “Love the sinner, but hate the sins”. This is Jesus was teaching to his followers: We must learn to make sacrifices we must to fulfill the assignment YHWH has given us, we must never put our desires above those of YHWH’s, we must love our family, friends, and the sinner in spite of their sinful faults, and we must bear our own weight in working for the Kingdom of God. May the Word written here bless and increase your understanding in Jesus’ Name’ Amen.