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. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. – Mark 8.34-35
In a world that says we ought to give ourselves whatever we want it is strange to see a message that says ‘deny yourself.’ It does not seem like a good way to garner followers of a religion.
‘If you want to come with me,’ Jesus said, ‘you are going to have to deny yourself. You are going to have to take up your own cross, and you are going have to follow me. You need to be willing to lose your own life.’
When we decide to follow Christ it is a big decision. It is never something to be taken lightly. Too many people have adopted an ‘A-B-C and pray after me’ mind set of salvation. Following Christ is a life-long commitment that can’t be taken lightly. It means we commit to putting Jesus first. It means we commit to putting others first. It means we commit to forsaking sin and following righteousness.
But it means that whatever struggles we go through now cannot be compared to the glories that will be revealed to us in heaven. It will be worth it all.