23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:23-26 ESV
Have you ever wondered why they call the suffering and death of Jesus the “passion”? I’m not really sure. But I had a thought about it. I’ve had thoughts that maybe Jesus’ suffering and death means that He was willing to completely deny His desires in order to obey the Father, and I think in some ways this is true. But an athlete is willing to fight, to sacrifice, to suffer, because his desire to win is so great.
Jesus had extreme passion, great and overriding desire and love, for us. He loved us so greatly, He was willing to go to any length to secure our relationship. And so He willingly laid down His life, He willingly suffered. As He died, He was longing for us, He was winning for us. We are His joy!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
This is a very great love, and extraordinary love. Live as if you are so loved, because you are! Take up your cross in the same way – from such a love that you hate all else by comparison. It isn’t that you deny your desire, it is that you desire and love Christ so much that the world is nothing to you by comparison. He is looking for intense lovers of God.