Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it."
- Luke 9:23–24
When people say, "I am going to go find myself," it usually precedes a selfish act. But Jesus taught that if you want to find yourself, then you must lose yourself: "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:27).
Taking up the cross and following Jesus can sound like one miserable lifestyle. But what it means is that you put God first. You come to Him with your life and say, "All right, Lord. Here are my goals. Here are my dreams. Here are my aspirations, as well as my weaknesses and my shortcomings and sins. I believe Your plans are better than mine in the long run, so I dedicate my life to You."
I am glad the so-called self-esteem movement seems to have finally seen its day. We even saw some of it seep into the church, usually portrayed in statements such as, "Well, Jesus said, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ' " And whenever I would speak out against this, people would get angry. But my point from the very beginning was that you don't need to be taught to love yourself, because you already do. Jesus was saying that obviously you love yourself already, so how about loving your neighbor as much as you love yourself?
When Jesus said, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me, . . . " He was essentially saying, "This is not about loving yourself. This is not about esteeming yourself. This is not about finding yourself. This is about losing yourself."
Do you want to find yourself? Do you want to be who you ought to be? Then lose yourself and dedicate your life to Christ. It is God's trade-in deal.