"Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves...." Luke 9:23
When I was I college I learned to juggle. Despite the fact that I was carrying a full load of courses and playing soccer in the Fall, basketball in the Winter and baseball in the Spring - I still had a little free time around the dorm where I learned to master this feat of dexterity.
The trick in juggling is how to handle three balls with just the two hands God gave you. Obviously the math in not in the favor of the juggler. He is required to keep one ball in the air at all times and for brief moments, two balls are in motion. Needless to say some coordination and concentration is required. Once I juggled a bowl ball, a golf ball and a softball. You can't be dropping bowling balls!
What does this have to do with discipleship?
I'm glad you asked! In discipleship, like juggling, you must decide which balls to hold and which to toss. You can't hold on to everything!
Jesus said that if you desire to be a disciple you must deny yourself. The word for "deny" means to "give up" or "disown". A Christ-follower must decide what to hold onto and what to let go of. Discipline has become an undesirable word in a culture that teaches "you can have it all". The American version of the "Golden Rule" is "whoever has the most gold gets to make the rules". That is not the way of His disciples. Disciple and discipline obviously come from the same root word and they refer to the necessity of saying "no" to one thing in order to say "yes" to a better thing. Discipleship is knowing how to juggle the priorities of living as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Disciples say "no" to the "crass" things of life and "yes" to the Cross things! Disciples don't just wear crosses - they carry them. Disciples not only carry crosses they nail things to the them. Disciples put some things to death in order for other things to live. Disciples aren't afraid of pain or sacrifice. Disciples know the difference between the acceptable and the excellent. Disciples are quick to give up good things to grab ahold of the better thing.
Are you a disciple of Jesus?
How is your juggling?