The Cost of Following Jesus

“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it."
Mark 8:34-35 (NKJV)
Here Jesus explains very clearly what it means to be His disciple.  It doesn’t just mean having a “desire” to follow Him, but there has to be action behind that desire.  Jesus says that if we want to be His disciple we must first deny ourselves.  We must come to the reality that life is not all about us.  It’s not about what we want.  There is something greater and that has been displayed for us in the life of Jesus – to follow God will all our hearts.
Secondly, we must take up our cross and follow Jesus.  The cross of Christ is so significant.  It represents Jesus, God in the flesh, who came down to willingly serve His creation by giving His life for them.  Jesus laid down all of His wants and desires to follow the will of God the Father, even when following His will required great cost.  When Jesus calls us to do the same, He means that we must follow God’s will for our lives and sometimes that is very difficult and even painful.  Let’s face it, sometimes God calls us to do things that we just don’t want to do.  Like loving our enemies and praying for them.  Jesus makes it really clear that if a person is unwilling to lay down their life for the sake of following Him, he cannot be counted as His follower.  The cost of following Jesus is great, but the reward far outweighs the difficulty and sacrifice.
In a personal journal entry made in 1949, a missionary by the name of Jim Elliott, who ended up giving his life for the sake reaching a lost people for the Gospel, said:
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Let us have such boldness for Jesus that we are willing to sacrifice everything to follow Him, never losing sight of the eternal weight of glory ahead of us.

Anchored in Christ,
Aaron R. Force
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