Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
Jesus came to provide us with eternal and abundant life (John 10:10b). Jesus chose us to bear fruit that lasts forever (John 15:16), that is, to have an eternally productive and meaningful life. Jesus came to deliver us from the penalty Romans 5:10), power (Romans 6;6-7) and ultimately the presence of sin (Revelation 21:1-4) , that is, to live free. Jesus made the provision by dying on the cross, rising from the dead on the third day after His death, by ruling as our Lord (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9) whose every command benefits all people (except the command, "Depart from me I never knew you.").
Our text today instructs us how to walk in the freedom Jesus came to provide for us. We enter the freedom Jesus provides by repenting of our sin and believing the gospel (Mark 1:15). We walk in the freedom Jesus provides by denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Him; by being willing to lose our life for His names' sake.
We deny ourselves by committing ourselves to take His purposes as our purposes. All we are denying are our purposes that lead to destruction and emptiness. His purposes lead to restoration and fulfillment. We learn what His purposes are by learning the Word of God. We need to be daily reading His word.
We take up our cross by being willing to die doing His will. We have His promise that if we are willing to die doing His will, then we will gain our life. We follow Jesus by imitating His life and obeying His commands by the power of the Holy Spirit, by faith in the Son of God.
Have you committed yourself to live by Jesus' purposes even to the point of death? Without that commitment, you will not experience the truly fulfilling life Jesus has provided for you. Remember, Jesus fulfills our acts of faith with His power. We attempt to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him, to lose our life for His names' sake and He fulfills our attempt with His power.