Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Do you want to be Jesus’ disciple? It’s your choice. No one can make that choice for you. Not your parents. Not your friends. Not your pastor. You have to make that choice for yourself. And it is not a choice to be taken lightly. You must count the cost of being His disciple. You must know what is in store for those who follow after the King of kings.
First, we must deny ourselves. “Not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42. “No one can serve two masters.” Luke 16:13. We must let go of self as our master and submit to Jesus as Lord. In order to follow Jesus, we must follow the model that He showed to us. “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:6-7. Jesus denied Himself and we are to do the same.
Secondly, we must take up our cross. Jesus never promised us an easy road and for each of us, the path that He would have us walk is blocked by cross. In order to follow Him, we must pick up that cross. Thankfully, Christ helps us to carry the load. “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30.
And finally, we must follow, obediently, constantly, willingly, eagerly. When the road is tough, we follow. When the pastures are green, we follow. Through the desert and the valley, just as much as the mountain tops and spring meadows, we follow.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20