I've been thinking a lot about this question lately. HOW DO WE? I've read the verse...a couple thousand times. Lately though I've been wondering not just about what Jesus said but more about what he wants us to DO with what he says.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew16:24
I guess the problem I and most people have (if we are honest with ourselves) is the whole "deny yourselves" part.
I mean I pray and I ask the Lord to guide me, to lead me, to show me what he wants me to do and basically he already has. DENY YOURSELF.
Stop making it about me..what I'm comfortable with...what is convenient for me....what doesn't disrupt my life..what doesn't require anything but me showing up (if I even decide to do that)..my timing, my preferences, my limits, my will. MY..MY...MY... MY...MY.
I imagine the Lord sitting up there shaking his head as we run around in circles trying to figure this whole thing out and saying exactly that :)
The next part is kinda scary too.
"Take up your cross"
What's that all about?
What is my cross? What is the purpose of my cross? Where am I suppose to take it to?
I wonder maybe if I think about his cross and it's purpose and where he took it, I might find the answers to the questions about mine.
Because the next few words spell it out plain and simple.
Follow him where?
Okay..I'm going to go out on a limb here and throw this out there....
In giving up our will?
Remember that moment in the garden? When Jesus faced the cross and he was so distressed at the cross he knew he would soon take up?
Nevertheless, he said..."Not my will but thine be done."
He knew it wasn't going to be easy, he knew it meant pain and agony and a major disruption in his earthly life. (Literally)
But he obeyed. He didn't make it about him.
He made it about us.
And I want to follow him in that. I want to make my life count. To make it about someone else. To really go about BEING a disciple and not simply reading about being one.
I want to take up my cross, to follow him into the world and off my pew to make a difference in someone's life.
I want to stop making excuses about how it's going to affect me and more about how his kingdom and the people he created are affected by my obedience.
Who knows what he may do? He may turn my whole comfortable life upside down.
Psst.....Can I confide something?
That scares me!
I kinda like my life :/
But ya know what scares me more?
Doing NOTHING at all.
22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.