"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." ~Matthew 16:24~
come= to move towards; to advance near, to draw nigh; to approach; to arrive; to be present, to advance or move into view; to appear, to sprout, as plants; to spring.
deny= to contradict; to gainsay, to refuse to grant, not to afford; to withhold, to disown; to refuse or neglect to acknowledge; not to confess.
follow= to go after or behind; to walk, ride or move behind, but in the same direction, to pursue; to chase, to accompany; to attend in a journey, to imitate; to copy; as, to follow a pattern or model; to follow fashion, to embrace; to adopt and maintain; to have or entertain like opinions; to think or believe like another; as, to follow the opinions and tenets of a philosophic sect, to obey; to observe; to practice; to act in conformity to, to pursue as an object of desire; to endeavor to obtain, to use; to practice; to make the chief business, to adhere to; to side with, to be led or guided by, to move on in the same course or direction; to be guided by; as, to follow a track or course.
If it is our desire to come unto Jesus, to draw nigh unto Him (James 4:8a), to approach and advance or to move into view of Him....if we desire to sprout, as plants and spring up in Him by bearing much fruit (John 15, Gal. 5:22,23) we must deny ourselves, to contradict, to refuse to grant, to disown our sinful nature and we must take up our cross and follow, to go after, to pursue and chase and accompany Him. We must learn to imitate Christ and to follow the pattern and model He has set before us. We must adopt, maintain and entertain His opinions. We should obey and observe His commands and practice in conformity to His will. He should be our Chief business and the One by which we are led and guided, that we might follow in His footsteps and that we might walk in the light just as He is in the light. (1 John 1:7)
John 13:15-17 says, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
Lord, I desire to come after You...please help me to truly deny myself, to take up my cross and follow You! Lord, may there be less of me and more of You!
"For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace." ~Rom. 6:5-14~
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age..." ~Titus 2:11,12~