"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
Love is interesting because it can be given but unless it is received it loses its effect.
Trust and respect are the same. They must be given but also must be received to have an impact. Since love is built upon trust and respect, I guess it makes sense that they would operate the same way.
If you learn just one thing about God's CRAZY LOVE during this 40 Day Focus, I hope you will understand how to receive that love into your life. While His love is freely given there IS a cost to receiving it and here Jesus points to the price tag.
The cost of receiving God's CRAZY LOVE according to Jesus in this passage is three-fold:
1) You have to lay something down - "If anyone would come after me he must deny himself"
2) You have to lift something up - "and take up his cross"
3) You have to live something out - "and follow me."
Wow! That is a high price to pay in order to receive something that is supposed to be free! You have to deny and you have to die and you have to devote to that lifestyle for the rest of your life!
Does God REALLY expect you to do that? How can He ask that?
Oh, maybe because THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT JESUS DID to prove God's CRAZY LOVE and to purchase that CRAZY LOVE for you!
He denied Himself of all His Heavenly privileges and humbled Himself to become a baby born in a feed trough in a barn.
And He died a painful humiliating death on a Roman cross to pay the penalty for your sins.
Both of those things He did because He loved the Father and was committed to following His will.
So, God can demand that we pay the price to receive His CRAZY LOVE because Jesus paid the price to make that love available!
What do you have that could be more valuable or more rewarding than receiving His CRAZY LOVE? Why would you not deny yourself of that so you could get THAT?
What needs to die in you so that you can live in His CRAZY LOVE? The truth is if you don't die to that sin in your life it will kill you.
And what could you devote yourself to that would give you more joy than following Christ? If you can think of something then devote yourself to it, but if not then become a devoted follower of Christ!
Will you pay the price to receive this great gift freely given?