And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
We can’t be so intent on getting our way if we are going to follow Jesus. We’re going to have to let go of some things so that we might take up our cross instead. Our life can no longer be about us, but must be about following Christ. It’s not about what we can get. It’s not about forging our own path and making a way for ourselves. It’s about denying ourselves for a cause greater than us. It’s about giving to others instead of keeping for ourselves. It’s about following the Lord and seeking His path and His ways above our own. And it’s about bearing what He asks of us, keeping our eyes upon Him and our steps aligned with His.
So may we come empty to Jesus and allow Him to fill us. May we forsake our own way and allow Him to set our path. May we give up our plans and allow Him to write our story. A shepherd’s job is to lead his sheep. The master commands his servants. A king rules over his kingdom. And all we have to do is take our place and follow without question or concern. If Jesus is the desire of our hearts, then we will go wherever He goes. We will endure whatever He endures. We will lay a path of steady steps that transforms us into His image so that we are more like Him today than we were yesterday.
But this walk with the Lord is not something that we are forced into. It is something we choose. He comes along and makes the offer. His Spirit compels us. His love draws us. His mercy pursues us. But then we have to decide whether we will go or not. Not everyone who Jesus calls will follow. Not everyone who is confronted with the life-changing touch of salvation will choose to lay aside everything else in order to follow Him. But we can. We have that chance. And how could we not take that opportunity?
Have we denied ourselves anything at all for Jesus? Following Him requires a complete emptying of self, just as Christ denied Himself for us. He left the glory of heaven for the hardships of this earth to be crucified for us, and we must take up our cross as He took up His. We must be concerned with obedience to the will of God. And then we must tread the path that Jesus would lead us through. It’s all about a day-by-day walk with our Savior, and what a sweet thing that can be.