“Whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it, and anyone who loses his life because of me will find it.” (Matthew 10:38-39)
So often we come to Jesus as if He is a useful addition to the life we already have. We treat Him and His teaching as upgrades or accessories that will make our life better, and they do…for a time.
Jesus reminds us, though, that the full and vibrant life He promises cannot just be added on to the empty and dead life we possess without Him. These two lives are fundamentally incompatible.
Like a human body rejecting a donated organ, a natural human life can only play at Christianity for a time before a double rejection will occur. Our natural selves will reject what will come to feel like unnatural demands and expectations. We will compromise and rationalize and slowly slip away from pure devotion to Jesus.
And He will let us go.
This is not Jesus rejecting someone He previously accepted. This is Him allowing our actions to reveal what we really were all along.
The reason He says we are not worthy of Him is not because we are not loved by Him, but because we tried to gain a new life while still hanging on to the old one and it simply doesn’t work like that.
However, for those who completely surrender and turn away from their old life, they gain something far more glorious than an upgrade.
They get a resurrection.