Matthew 16:24-27, “Then Jesus said unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.”
These were pretty strong word Jesus said to His followers. No one wants to hear he has to take up his cross, and give up his life and all his desires for his life. In fact, so much today we hear teaching of the abundant life that Jesus wants us to have, that it couldn’t seem possible that Jesus really said that. It seems to be a contradiction of terms, for Jesus indeed said in John 10:10 that He came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly.

Is taking up your cross, following Jesus, and losing your life, life more abundantly? Well, you have to look a little closer. Are you speaking of the temporal things, or eternal? It’s pretty obvious that the path we are on without God leads to death and hell. It says so in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” But the path following God leads to eternal life. So, in light of our 80 or so years we live on earth, versus all eternity, which cannot be measured in human terms, which life is more important to you?
It would seem to me, that no matter how much suffering and persecution that I could possibly face in this physical life could not compare to the joy of eternal life with God. The worst thing in this life we can face is physical death. Then, there is nothing more that mankind can do to hurt us. It’s all over, from a physical standpoint. But, suppose we die without Jesus as our Lord and Savior? That’s a whole different matter. What happens then? Then, we are cast into the Lake of Fire with the devil and his angels. That doesn’t sound like how I want to spend eternity. How about you? The Bible speaks of a second death, and this is it.
Jesus said in verse 25, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it.” What does that mean? The life Jesus spoke of you saving is your real life, that is, eternal life. But to save it, you must give up control of your life to Jesus. You have not eternal life within yourself. You can have it only through Christ Jesus, who has eternal life in Himself, and when you ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, He comes intor your heart, your spirit man, to live. Your spirit man is then reborn to eternal life because He dwells in you. He makes an exchange with you. He imparts His eternal life to you, in trade for the eternal death that you were born with. It doesn’t sound like such a good deal for Jesus, as He had eternal life already, and has nothing to gain by giving any of us His life. But hey, He made the offer, and I for one am taking Him up on the deal!
 So, what’s this “life more abundantly”? Is it only for the hereafter? No! And though the world without God is also interested in the “hereafter”, most men are only interested in what they’re “here after”, and that is money, or fame, or material possessions, or the pleasures of this life. But God has a good plan for us while we are in the “here and now”. And yes, it is life more abundantly. Only, we find that once we give up the control of our life to Jesus, that He has a way of working things out to our benefit. After all, God didn’t put the world’s goods here on earth for the devil and his crew. No! He did it for the enjoyment of His children. Now, I assure you, the devil will come to spy out your blessings, peace and joy in the Lord Jesus, and he will not be a happy camper. In fact, the devil will do all he can to spoil your life. But keep in mind, it isn’t God who is out to kill you, steal your goods, and destroy you. No, that’s the devil.

God adds and multiplies blessings to you. God doesn’t steal from you. So does Jesus want you to lose your life so He can steal it from you? No! He wants you to give Him your short, temporary life, so He can give you a real life, which is an eternal life of joy with Himself in the Kingdom of God.
Will you, after your physical life is over, and you stand before Jesus to be judged, and after having said “NO!” to Jesus all your life, in the pursuit of money and earthly pleasures,  see the error of your ways?  You bet!  For it is then you see you have sent yourself to hell to spend all eternity with the devil and his angels in torment. And then, you are willing to give anything to have Jesus for your Lord and Savior.
Oh, but it is too late now. You have passed up the only sacrifice that would have saved you. Jesus offered you eternal life, but you refused! Time and time again, Jesus tenderly said, “Come to Me” , but you would not. No, you would not let Jesus give you His life, because you wanted to have control of your life. So Jesus let you have it. After all, Jesus is not an intruder. He only comes in by invitation.

 What good now is all that money you made? It can’t buy you another second of life. What good are all your cars now? They can’t take you to heaven. What good is that nice home now? Another will live in it.
You’re standing before Jesus and the books are being opened. Will He find your name written in the Lamb’s book of life?
That’s up to you! If you’re reading this right now, you still have a chance to make Jesus your Lord and Savior. I wouldn’t waste it, if I were you! Pray this prayer right now and LIVE FOREVER!

Lord Jesus, I know I’m a sinner and the wages of my sin is death and hell. I’m sorry for my sins and I turn from them now, and I ask you to forgive me. Please come into my heart now and be my Lord and Savior. I believe in my heart that you died for my sins and I confess you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.