Would You Deny Yourself Security for Christ’s Sake?

When Jesus called His twelve disciples to follow Him, He knew the path would lead to eternal life. He also knew it would include suffering, and for most of them—martyrdom.

And He summoned the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35 NASB)

In Roman-occupied Palestine, Jesus’s metaphor suggested a criminal who was forced to demonstrate his submission to Rome by carrying part of his cross through the city to his place of execution. “Thus ‘to take up one’s cross’ was to demonstrate publicly one’s submission/obedience to the authority against which he had previously rebelled.”[1]

For Jesus, submitting to God meant death. For us, to pick up our cross means to obey God’s will as revealed in His word and accept the consequences without reservations for the sake of Jesus and the gospel.[2]

Hebrews 11 lists Old Testament believers who chose to deny themselves earthly security and self-centered interests for the sake of Christ—their Messiah. For example, Moses.

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (Heb. 11:24-26 NIV)

As we walk with Jesus and meditate on His word, we receive spiritual sight to recognize and spiritual power to choose the path that leads to life, even if that path takes us through the valley of the shadow of death.

Who can meet such a challenge? As Jesus told Peter, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Did you know that some Old Testament believers denied themselves earthly security for the sake of Christ? #BigGod Click To Tweet

We Are Weak, But He Is Strong

Thankfully, though we are weak, He is strong. His word never fails to light the next step, and His Spirit empowers us to pick up our feet and follow. Our strength may be little, but our God is big. The courageous Old Testament believers listed in Hebrews 11 bear witness to God’s all-sufficient help.

Below is a YouTube recording of my friend and author DiAnn Mills sharing her thoughts and reading a sample from my upcoming book Little Strength, Big God. If the video doesn’t show on the email, click here.

Little Strength, Big God releases September 5. Preorder your copy today! Follow this link to learn more and play the online Little Strength, Big God Matching Game.

When Jesus called His disciples, He knew the path would lead to eternal life. He also knew it would include suffering, and for some—martyrdom. DiAnn Mills reads a sample from Little Strength, Big God. #BigGod, #BibleStudy Click To Tweet

Comment here.


[1] John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dalla Seminary Faculty (Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 1983), p 141

[2] Walvoord and Zuck, Bible Knowledge Commentary, p 141

Sometimes I link with these great sites:

#InspireMeMonday, #InstaEncouraements, #TellHisStory, #Let’sHaveCoffee, #Grace&Truth

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  1. Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you for this, Debbie: “His word never fails to light the next step, and His Spirit empowers us to pick up our feet and follow. Our strength may be little, but our God is big.” I am counting on God to shed light on my next step, the empowerment of His Spirit to take that next step, and the determination to rely wholly on His supreme wisdom and power. Amen!

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Amen. We all need that, Nancy. Sometimes we feel it more than at other times.

  2. JD Wininger

    Difficult question my friend, but if I answer honestly, “Yes, I’m prepared to die defending my faith in my Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. Will I surrender my ability to defend my family and ensure their safety and security against this world? Even though I know they are saved in Christ and I’m assured to see them in Heaven one day? Honestly, no. I view such as “tempting God”, and while I know He will be with us eternally, I’m unwilling to surrender my ability to defend my wife and family against the evils of this world.” Perhaps this is “my cross.”

    • Debbie Wilson

      Moses’s willingness to leave the security of being a prince with all its privileges in order to identify with God’s people is quite inspiring. I’ve read of others who have done that and know people in the persecuted church face that regularly. I trust God to give us grace to pick up whatever cross he lays on us and follow him. Thank you J. D.

  3. Ann J Musico

    I can do nothing of any value apart from Him.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      For sure. Me too, Ann!

  4. Barbara Latta

    Our cross is to identify with Christ and the persecution that comes from following Him. We can’t do this in our own strength but through His power and our submission to His will. I have enjoyed this book!

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Thank you, Barbara. I love these stories.

  5. Paula

    Great insights & encouragement Debbie. I’m dependent on God for everything I do. and I’m only a tool in his hands. He uses me to accomplish his purposes, but I am nothing without him. I choose the path that leads to “life”, even if its path takes me through the valley of the shadow of death.
    Visiting today from Jeanne’s

    • Debbie Wilson

      Praise God! Thank you, Paula. Me too!

  6. Jeannie Waters

    The word “surrender” comes to mind, Debbie, after reading your post . When we surrender to Christ on a daily basis, we choose “to obey God’s will as revealed in His word and accept the consequences without reservations for the sake of Jesus and the gospel.” Thank you for reminding us what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He is worthy of our trust.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jeannie, surrender is a perfect description of the Christian life. Thank you!

  7. Jeanne Takenaka

    Deb, it seems easy to say, “Yes! I’ll give up security for Jesus’ sake!” But, especially in our culture of comfort, when the time comes to actually live this out, it can be a difficult decision. I sense that more Christians will have to choose what they hold as more important in the coming days.

    I so appreciate what you shared about taking up our crosses and submitting to God. It’s such an apt word picture!

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Jeanne, it isn’t an easy question. I love how these Old Testament believers saw that following God was worth denying themselves. I trust His grace to be there for us too. Thanks so much for adding your thoughts.

  8. Sylvia Schroeder

    Really enjoyed this Debbie. As former foreign missionaries and then training other young people to go, this is a challenge we need so much today. Thank you.

  9. Vera Day

    Congrats on the upcoming book release, Debbie. You’ve piqued my interest!

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