Do you have a cross or a picture of a cross in your house?
One of the things that you will have to ask yourself as you grow up is whether or not you want to follow Jesus. This is truly the most important question we can ask ourselves. Why? Because following Jesus is the whole reason we were created by God and alive on earth. And hopefully you have already been thinking about Jesus and what it means to be his follower. Maybe you know that you want Jesus to save you, to forgive your sins and take you to heaven. But do you also want to be his follower?
Here’s how Jesus talked about following him:
Matthew 16:24-26. 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. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
So how does Jesus tell us to follow him?
Jesus tells us to carry our cross – If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
What does it mean to “take up your cross and follow Jesus?” Well, Jesus explained it by saying that we have to “deny ourselves.” That means that we need to put ourselves second not first. We need to care about others before ourselves. We need to be willing to share everything, and give, and help, and be kind, and take care of others like we learned yesterday from the Good Samaritan. We need to live “Others First.”
“Others First” was how Jesus lived too, wasn’t it? Jesus loved others so much that he died for them on the cross. And when we know how much Jesus loves us, then we can live for others each day, seeking their good over our own.
And when we choose to “take up our cross” and “follow Jesus” by living for others first, it makes everyone else better, and it makes us better too. Jesus said this is how you “find life.” You see, you can’t be happy by only living for yourself. People who only live for themselves usually end up losing everything that makes life worth living.
Because of Jesus we know that God will always do what is best for us.
With Jesus we can put others first just like he did.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Play Simon Says or Follow the Leader together. Talk about how Jesus wants us to follow his lead when it comes to loving others and putting them first.
You took up your cross and put me first by dying for my sins. Help me to put you and others first each day too.
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