What does it mean to deny yourself and follow after Jesus?
There are over 7 billion people in the world today. That is a big jump from 3 billion just 40 years ago. It’s hard to think of the magnitude of that number. Even if we break it down into the population of our country, state, or even our community. Literally hundreds of thousands of people. While we may not be able to grasp the population of “THE” world, we all live in our own little world. There are many people who live in your world. People on the road while traveling to and from work. All the people on your social media, in your family, at school.
Like it or not, your little world consists of thousands of people all with needs. We spend our days constantly doing things to accommodate and care for all the people in our world. But without question, the most important person in your own little world is US, ME, I. Think about it, in your own little world, all those people revolve around you. From our personal perspective, the needs that come to the surface first are our own needs. Sometimes, our little world is very much consumed with one person…ME. My needs, my wants, my hurts, my past, my stress, my pain, my hobby etc…
Now, think about this for a minute; what if we could somehow remove ourselves from the equation of “our” world? What if we could be here only in spirit with no physical needs whatsoever? What if we never became offended, never worried about past hurts? What if, in your own little world, there was no YOU at all? The only thing that we could concern ourselves with was the needs of every other person in our personal world.
As you begin to ponder these possibilities, the concept of true ministry begins. Simply put, true ministry begins when you remove yourself from the equation of life. Ministry is serving, and that is putting everyone else ahead of you. The Apostle Paul said “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:19-20). He told Timothy to “…keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Tim 4:5). The calling of ministry is not about the minister. It is not about our needs, our wants, our desires, our hurts, our pressure. In fact, ministry is about everyone else.
“I have found the paradox that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love” – Mother Teresa
A calling is never about you. Seldom are we called to do work that makes us comfortable, or that accentuate a natural gifting or even our ability. Our calling into ministry is about everyone else in our little world with absolutely no consideration of YOU. One man asked me how he would know that his calling was from God or not. I told him he would know its God when He calls you away from your comfort zone, away from what your flesh would want. That is when you KNOW its God.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Matt 16:24-25 KJV