“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” — Matthew 16:24-25
To truly be a follower of Jesus means that He is in charge. You are His servant. You don’t tell Him; He tells you. Is Jesus Lord of every part of your life? Once, I had a poster that said, “Sometimes I think that I have fully surrendered and then He asks me for something that I am not willing to give up.” Is there anything in your life that you are not willing to give up? That’s what He wants. To do that means you are going to have to die. But you know that is the point. My favorite verse in the Bible is Galatians 2:19-20: “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”
So you have to die. That’s the only way to resurrected life. You must be crucified so that Jesus can live inside of you. What you have to do is surrender. Every morning, I get down on my knees, first thing before I do anything else, and I say, “Jesus, I love You, and I give You my life.” I have to reaffirm my commitment to Him every day. I am going to invite you to do the same thing. Will you commit your life to Jesus Christ? And don’t be afraid.
So, what is it you hold on to so tightly that you can’t surrender it to receive everything that God wants to give you? With God you have everything. Without God you have nothing. It’s your decision. If you want Jesus to come into your heart and take control of your life, then very simply kneel down, make the Sign of the Cross, and pray with me now:
Lord, Jesus Christ, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I am sorry for my sins, and I turn away from them. I beg You to forgive me. Come into my heart. Take control of my life. Be my Lord and God and Savior. Make me your disciple. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, that I may know You and love You and serve You, and live with You one day forever in heaven. I love You Lord Jesus. And I give You my life forever. Amen.
If you just said this prayer, you have begun your journey as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. You have just given Him everything, holding nothing back. Now you begin the new life He wants to give you so that you may serve Him forever.
Father Larry Richards is a dynamic teacher, preacher, author and retreat master who serves as the pastor of an inner-city parish in Erie, Pennsylvania.
This is an excerpt from “The Catholic Men’s Bible,” which contains 88 inserts with the teachings, wisdom and instruction of Father Richards. His no-holds-barred approach has helped millions draw closer to God and more fully live out their Catholic Faith.