Read: Mark 8:34-38
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.” (Mark 8:34, NIV)
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Jesus called the crowd, which was following him, to get up close and listen carefully. His message was the opposite of that posted above. Jesus said, “You want to be a Jesus’ follower, then realize you cannot be in charge of your life; give up your desire to be in charge, let me be the Leader; give your life up to death, in fact embrace it!”
Following Jesus means giving up the controlling interest in my life. To deny myself means I must stop being in charge, yield control of my day, week, month, life to him. Every morning, when I awake, I check in with my Lord and give him control of my day. Now, listen, this does not mean I do not plan ahead. It does mean I am open to his interruptions. I am ready to go where he leads me!
Following Jesus means “picking up my cross”. That means I expect that following Jesus is not going to be any easier for me than it was for him! If they persecuted him (and they did), then I can expect similar experiences and I am willing to “embrace” it for him.
Following Jesus means FOLLOWING! He calls me to keep my head up and stay in the tracks he sets for me! I must not get out in front of him, neither can I afford to fall so far behind I lose sight of him! I want to be Jesus’ Follower! I will do what he calls me to do!