Then [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
Jesus Came To Save Us From Ourselves
Jesus once had a notable conversation with some people who expressed faith in him. He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The crowd took offense. What did Jesus mean, they would be set free? They had never been slaves to anyone! But he responded, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:31-34).
It’s the perfect definition of sin. Sin is slavery to yourself.
That’s why we sin, right? We do things that are wrong because we love ourselves. We sin because we believe that we will gain some advantage for ourselves. When we survey the situation and conclude, “This won’t benefit me at all,” we immediately cease and desist. Sin is nothing more than self-love, selfishness, self-indulgence. Sin is all about me.
And that’s why Jesus came, to save us from ourselves. He did that by taking the burden of us and our sinfulness on himself rather than being selfish and saying, “You fix it.” Even though Jesus had no sin, he foisted on himself the burden and guilt of the world’s sin (1 John 2:1,2). We have forgiveness freely. Jesus gives us his perfection. Why? Because he loves us, and everyone (1 John 4:10).
But remember why Jesus came? To save us from ourselves! That’s why he says that whoever wants to be his disciple “must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” God’s people don’t run back to their selfish way of living after Jesus saves them. They strive to be selfless toward others just as he has been perfectly selfless toward us.
When we “lose our lives” this way—surrendering our selfishness and living in the freedom of a life serving others—we find out what true life is really all about. It’s not about me. It’s all about others.
Dear Jesus, thank you for saving me from myself. Amen.