34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for you to gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul? 37 Or what can you give in exchange for your soul? 38 If any of you are ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." 9:1 And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."
What will you give in exchange for your soul? All the comforts of the world do not measure up to your eternal life. Yet, many give up their faith for temporary comforts. Some walk by sight and not by faith. So they value what they see far more than what is lasting an unseen. Wealth, wisdom, and beauty all fade, but knowing God lasts forever.
There are lots of southern folk tales about people going down to the crossroads (think Eric Clapton's song/"Brother Where Art Thou") and selling their soul to the devil to get some wish or ability. But we don't have to go to the crossroads to do it. Many sell their souls by giving their lives and time to something else besides God.
We need to weigh the cross on earth and heaven forever against the world now and shame forever.
Prayer: May my life reflect that I have chosen you over the world, O Lord.
John Calvin abridged on 9:38-: We must struggle against the dread of death that we may make an open confession of Christ which the world cannot endure. While the world considers a confession of Christ as a trifling matter, here it is seen as a main part of divine worship and a distinction of godliness. If kings and princes require a verbal pledge, ought we also to make one of God so we may maintain his glory?