Hey! My Name is Ethan Smith, and I’m from Murray Bridge High School.

Matthew 16:24-25 (ESV)
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Has there ever been a difficult time in your life where you have wanted to give up? Maybe you were in an uncomfortable situation or you were worried that you won’t succeed. For you, this may be something like a difficult exam or test that is hard to study for or a topic you lack knowledge in. Maybe even something a little more serious, such as attempting to sow back a relationship between a friend that just seems impossible. A familiar situation that you could have faced before or could be tackling currently could be that you’re trying to convince one of your friends to come to church and you want them so desperately to come to know Jesus and be saved, but they turn you down time and time again because they think ‘Jesus isn’t for them’. A lot of the time, we can get so frustrated that things just don’t work out and we can question God about why they don’t just fall into place, even when it feels like it’s for the best. However, a lot of the time we look past the fact that God is testing and challenging us, to build us and to become better versions of ourselves. 

In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus tells His disciples that “if anyone would come after him, let them deny themselves and take up this cross and follow him.”(24)

Jesus is saying that when we chase after Him, we need to actually deny ourselves by leaving behind sin, shame, pride and other ungodliness. He also says to take up the cross, and this means that we have to be shameless and choose for Christ to be with us every day, even when it may feel uncomfortable and people will question you, and you might want to give up on God, but he is 100% worth taking a stand for. Then Jesus says “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”(25) Jesus is indicating that whoever would rather live life their own way without God, will lose eternal life with the Father, but whoever would take any risk for God, even when it feels impossible/uncomfortable and live in the footsteps of Jesus trusting in His word, inviting friends to church and living a Godly way, our Heavenly Father will be pleased and grant us eternal life.

Prayer:
God, I pray that you will help me to be more committed to You, even in the times when I might feel like I want to give up, or feel uncomfortable, I know You are my rock. Thank you that you are always with me and although I may fail sometimes and trials might come my way, Your plans are far greater than mine.

Written by Ethan Smith, MBHS, SA.

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