When Jesus was teaching his disciples that he must suffer many things, be rejected by the religious leaders, and be killed, Peter (one of the disciples) put Jesus aside and rebuked Him. Peter did not want Jesus to tell them about his suffering and death because he wanted to preserve the life of Jesus. However, Jesus had a different agenda. He came to give His life as a ransom for the sins of the world. Jesus then rebuked Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." (Mark 8:31-33). Jesus was not saying that Peter was Satan, but what Jesus was referring to was that Peter was acting and behaving like Satan. Satan wanted to live for himself and through His own will. Actually, he wanted to be God himself. This is the reason he rebelled against God.
After Jesus rebuked Peter, he called the crowd and said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it." (Mark 8:34-35). These were strong words of Jesus because he spoke against the desire of our sinful nature (flesh). Our sinful nature wants to live for itself and rely on itself. Just like Satan's desire, our flesh desires to save itself and live outside the will of God. We struggle to live for God and through Him because there is a part of us that wants to live for ourselves. The solution to our struggle is to deny ourselves by not giving in to our sinful nature's desires. When we deny ourselves, it is not easy. It is going to be a struggle like carrying a heavy cross. This is the reason Jesus wants us to carry our cross, which represents the burden and suffering that we may face when we deny ourselves.
When we are willing to deny ourselves and carry our cross, we will then be able to follow Jesus. If we are unwilling to do these things, it will be difficult or even impossible for us to live for God and live through Him. If we are willing to deny ourselves, but we are struggling, we need to pray to God to help us to deny ourselves continually. We need to rely on God's power to help us deny ourselves because we cannot do it on our own strength.
Ask yourself these questions: What should I do to help me live for God and live through Him? What should I do if I am struggling to deny myself?
Write down all the worries that you are facing today and lift them up to God.
Father in Heaven, please help me to deny the desires of my flesh that I may live for you and through you. There are these desires in me that want to sin and rebel against you, but I want to live for you because you bring life into me. Please help me now with (mention your prayer requests). In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.