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  • Chad Werkhoven

Matthew 16:24-28 - Discipleship Paradox

It's good to pray for what you want, but it's better to pray that you'll want what God wants.

Read / Listen

Read Matthew 16:21-28

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 124

Q. What does the third request mean?

A. “Your will be done on earth

as it is in heaven” means,

Help us and all people

to reject our own wills

and to obey your will

without any back talk.

Your will alone is good.

Help us one and all to carry out

the work we are called to,

as willingly and faithfully

as the angels in heaven.



Jesus explains the discipleship paradox: if you want to be Jesus' disciple, you must deny what you want. He goes on to explain that whoever wants to get what they want will not only not get what they want, but they'll end up getting what they don't want.

When viewed on their own, Jesus' words here don't make very much sense. But when we look at the context they come in, in which Peter is trying to make Jesus into the savior that both he the world really wants, rather than one who provides sacrificial obedience, then what Jesus is saying here comes into sharper focus.

What Jesus is telling Peter, and us, is that if you want to be His disciple, then you must want what Jesus wants, not what the world wants. He says that following Him requires you to stop wanting worldly things which end up sucking the life out of your soul. Instead, you must want to nail these worldly wants to the cross. Yet even as you follow Him, you'll get what you both truly want and need: eternal reward from the Son of Man.

Dig Deeper

If all of this talk about what you want seems confusing, Jesus presents this entire concept much more simply when He taught us to pray: "Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

When you pray those very simple words, or ones like them, you're praying for a very profound thing: that God, through the Holy Spirit, will help you to reject your sin-stained will and obey God's holy and perfect will without any hesitation or back talk. This is the simplest definition of what a disciple is: a person who wants to do what God wants done.

Make alignment a key element in every prayer that you pray, that you would deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, whose Son will come in His Father's glory with His angels to reward each person according to what they have done;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you would not want worldly things, but would instead want what your Father wants.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Revelation 4


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