"and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:38
The hardest thing to do is to die to self. Jesus said you must pick up your cross, deny yourself and follow me. So many times when we are going through problems in life we have such difficulty getting beyond ourselves. When we understand the kingdom of God and his righteousness comes when we realize we are not our own, but were bought with a price. We too now need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. This also means a dying to self.
The self is one that exalts itself up against the knowledge of God. We can easily get caught up in ruts when we have difficulties because we become focused on ourselves and our circumstances. The enemy then uses God against us and we begin to question God. We don't understand why God is doing this to us. What we tend to forget is that we are in a world that is fallen. Satan for now is still present and reeking havoc on earth. What God has given us is his son with instructions on how to remain in him. We are in a battle that God has won, but we have to deny the flesh in order to complete the mission. Jesus tells us that we would have trials and tribulations in our life. These trials as we read in the New Testament show that they are used to prove our faith and to bring out perseverance, character and hope.
We are not living for this world and it's riches, ease of life and goodness. We are in anticipation of the eternal things. We are promised eternal life and a kingdom beyond this one. We are given a guarantee of what is to come with a taste of his goodness today by what he has done through his son Jesus.
When we get caught up in the here and now, we will live our life in discouragement and hopelessness. When we get caught up in Jesus, we live our life for his glory. We then become like him in his nature and walk in the spirit of God rather than the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life. We look for the things eternal. We hope and believe the best because we know that we are just sojourners passing through this life. In the process of it all, we desire to take as many of those around us with us, so that they may rejoice one day in the heavenly kingdom rule and reign.
When we look upward, we know that our redemption draws nigh. So today when you are facing the darkness of this world, look up.