"Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23
People were following Jesus for a lot of reasons. They followed Him hoping to be healed, some followed Him because they had been healed by Him. They followed Him because He had fed them and others followed Him hoping to be fed. Some followed Him because they liked His stories, some followed Him because they had a story. A few followed Him because they were called.
Why do you follow Him?
He calls to commitment.Why do you follow Him?
Commitment is hard - very hard. But it is also very healthy and helpful. And, the very things that make it hard are the things that make it helpful.
I want you to take a look at Jesus' call to commitment in this verse and consider the hard things and see if you can understand why they are also helpful.
There is a cost - "If anyone would come after me he must deny himself......"
Commitment asks you to deny yourself. That means you put His way ahead of your way. He calls you to come after Him and that makes common sense. How could you follow Him and go your own way at the same time? You can't! To be a follower of Christ you must begin by following! And when you follow your own way you cannot at the same time follow His. Chasing Him means surrendering your way to pursue His.
There is a cross - "......and take up his cross...."
The call on Jesus' life led to a cross. This was God's will for Him. Is was not the way Jesus wanted but the cross was why He came. Jesus had to die as the atoning sacrifice for your sins so you can have your sins forgiven.Without His cross, you would not be able to follow Him. Without a cross, you will not be able to follow Him. Discipleship requires a death. Since He has already died, it is now your turn! You must die to your own selfish will so you are free to follow His way! Crosses are hard! They can kill you! No one climbs off a cross once he is nailed there!
You are placed on a cross to die. That is the will of the cross. What needs to die in your life?
There is a consistency - ".....daily and follow me."
It is hard to be consistent at anything. Doing the same thing the same way on a daily basis is hard! That gets tedious in a hurry. And yet, that is what Jesus called these men to do -consistently follow Jesus. In this case that means that everyday you count the cost of following His way and denying your way - EVERY Day! And it means nailing your way and your wants and your will to the cross - putting them to death so you are free to follow Him. Then, the next day, you come back and do it all again! That is consistency.
Counting the cost and paying the cost his hard! But walking in His way rather that yours is helpful - very helpful! And the cross in hard! Very hard - because it calls you to die to your will. But when you consider having His will rather than yours - very helpful! Doing these two hard things consistently (every day) is real hard! But He calls you to following Him daily - counting the cost and dying on the cross! Very hard - but very helpful!
Have you answered the call to commitment?