In 1993 I read in Luke 9:23-24 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” And Luke 14:26-27, in which Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple”.
I initially thought there were two classes of Christians, disciples, and the rest of us “regular” Christians. But a short time later, I realized that was a huge error on my part. Every person who follows Christ is a disciple.
Being His disciple means putting aside selfish desires, shouldering one’s “cross” every day, and following Him. It is simple and yet so demanding.
For the original Twelve, this meant literal suffering and death. For believers today, it means understanding that we belong to Him and that we live to serve His purposes.
Consider this: Do you think of your relationship with God primarily in terms of what’s in it for you (which is considerable) or in terms of what you can do for him? Are you willing to deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow him? Anything less is not discipleship; it is merely superficial lip service and places our eternal destiny in jeopardy!
Lord, create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.