Matthew 16:24-27 Then יהושע said to His taught ones, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his stake, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what is a man profited if he gains all the world, and loses his own life? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Aḏam is going to come in the esteem of His Father with His messengers, and then He shall reward each according to his works.”
What it means (to me) to take up your stake (cross) and follow Yeshua (Jesus).
To deny yourself is to empty yourself of the carnal ways of the world and its fascination with sinful lusts that lead to death. Deny your self-justified prideful self-righteousness to embrace His just and righteous ways. You must empty yourself of you in order to be filled with Him. Try pouring your favorite beverage into a glass that is already full of someone else’s idea of what you need to drink. It overflows and will be a blending of both beverages. This is called syncretism. Syncretism is the blending of two or more systems to create a new system.
Taking up your stake is to repent from the biblical definition of sin and turn to YHVH God. Bearing the cross is a constant reminder of the penalty of sin (that Yeshua bore for you) in order to fear YHVH Father and walk according to His righteous ways. This is not to walk according to your ideas or interpretation of His Word. It is not to walk according to your pastor or preacher or best-selling author. Nor is it up to you to decide which commandments to obey or not. You either follow Him fully and completely or not at all. He doesn’t care for “lukewarm” people!
If you follow the ways of man you are walking on the broad way that leads to destruction. Everyone is called, yet so very few are truly chosen. What it means to me to be chosen is you must be seeking Him with all that you are and have truly counted the costs of what it means to truly and authentically follow Him and His Ways. He may or may not chose you as He looks inward and not at the outer appearance. (Yes, He knows your true heart.) It is not for me to say as He chooses who He will. You can’t choose yourself, nor can you save yourself from destruction. You can do things His way or not. You can obey Him or not, it is your choice. As for me and my house, we will obey Him rather than any man.
Choices have consequences. I have a choice to believe and obey or to believe and disobey. It is said that the demons believe and tremble. What does it truly profit you to “have faith” (belief) only? Have you not read or understood what is written when Peter says faith without works is dead? Faith in Yeshua is a prerequisite to entering the kingdom. There is no if, and, or buts to this. NO one can come to the Father without going through Yeshua. Period! No one ever is walking righteously when they walk according to the way so many others have gone before. Nowhere in the bible does it say that.
I image if it were possible that Saul/Paul is rolling in the grave like a chicken in a rotisserie oven. I hate, and I mean hate when christians place Paul’s writings above Yeshua’s and His Fathers Words! I groan in my spirit when I hear christians say, “but Paul says…” and immediately do away with everything Yeshua and Father have said, who by the way have told us “I change not”. What would you think or believe if all you had was the exact same bible that was available to Yeshua and people in His generation? In Hebrew, it is called the Tanach which includes the Torah, The Prophets, and History. What if you did not have anything called the old testament or new testament. What if we had no writings of what Yeshua said or did other than He came as prophesied and will return again at the appointed time according to prophecy.
Here is an idea. Read the Tanach (old testament) as if all you knew was Yeshua (Jesus) had come and yet you had no writings to reveal anything He said or did. No writings from any of His Apostles or anyone else from that generation. Read it with an open heart and mind and a desire to seek Him and His truth at all costs.
Shalom and Yehovah Bless You.