Deny, Take, Follow

Sorry for the blog scrambling. Don’t know how it happened. Hopefully this will be clearer.

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Mark 8:34).

Today my wife and I saw a man on a sidewalk dragging a wooden cross on his shoulder.

Is that what Jesus meant, “Take up your cross and follow me?”

Well, this much we do know. Cross bearing does not mean denying yourself some pleasure nor enduring some tragedy in life, as a loss of a job, a disease, or dysfunctional family.”

When Jesus says, “Deny yourself” (34a), He means a daily giving Him your road map, your GPS, and saying, “Jesus, you drive and navigate me completely from this moment.”
When Jesus says, “Take up your cross” (34b), He means a daily submitting to His will. It’s a picture of a condemned criminal under Roman rule being forced to carry the cross bar on his shoulder to the place of crucifixion. He knew he was not coming back!

When Jesus says, “Follow me” (34c), He means embracing His lifestyle and thought patterns. As a child we played the game “Simon Says.” We imitated completely what Simon said. Transfer that concept and you’ll better understand “follow me.” In this game of life, it means not my will, but your will, Lord. In everything!

So Christians, where are we in our daily denying, daily taking, and daily deciding to follow Jesus? Or in the words of The Message, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat. I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how” (Mark 8:34).

Each day let Jesus stay in the driver’s seat and cease to make self the object of your actions. Resolve that Jesus will be the center of your life.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, our heavenly catalyst, these are hard decisions. Satan would want nothing more than for us to be the master of our souls. Forgive us when we’re tempted to get back into the driver’s seat to self-drive our lives. Saturate our minds with your lifestyle so that we are strengthened to surrender self, to hoist our cross, and run after you no matter the cost. Amen.

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