Mark 8:34-37 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions! We are constantly having to make them ~~ throughout our lifetime, throughout the day. Some of them small and less significant, others huge and impacting. Learning ‘how’ to make them so that things fare well for us and others is key to a fulfilled life.
Jesus very poignantly declared in Mark 8 that if you desire to be His ‘follower,’ you had to turn from your selfish ways and take up your cross. You might look at that statement at first glance and feel a tad bit slighted ~~ possibly think to yourself, ‘but I’m not selfish!’ So why would Jesus say it that way? Let’s consider a few things, Girlfriend …..
How many times have we ‘negotiated’ with ourselves over the topic of daily Devotionals and quiet time with The Lord? Let me put it this way: “Is God the first thought upon waking in the morning?” Or do we check our cell phones, emails, text messages, feed or walk the dog, turn on the computer, turn on the television to catch the early news edition or weather forecast or traffic conditions?
Hmmm, do we now have a better understanding as to why Jesus said to turn from our selfish ways?
Then He says to take up our cross. Jesus didn’t say ‘some’ of us have a cross to bare and others don’t ~~ He plainly said we all have a cross to carry. In other words, there’s a price tag attached to making that decision to truly follow Him.
“What has it cost you, Girlfriend, to follow Jesus?”
Chances are, if it hasn’t cost you anything to follow Jesus, you may not truly be His Follower.
Matthew 10:37-39 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
The passage from Matthew cuts right between the eyes and says that even family is not to stand in the way between you and Jesus. Maybe your family has a ‘traditional religion.’ In other words, you all have chosen to ‘serve God’ in the same exact manner as your ancestors ~~ without any conscious thought as to what you are doing or saying; everything is done in ‘auto-pilot mode.’ The sad part is that there is very little, if any, authentic love or worship.
Putting our children or other loved ones before Jesus is equally unacceptable. Some would go to great lengths to provide material possessions and ‘opportunities’ for their children ~~ sacrificing even the family fortune ~~ traveling near and far to attend sporting events and musical performances ~~ but will not take a few moments to pause and develop a relationship right where they ‘reside’ with The One who gave Himself for them.
And then there are those who have ‘left father and mother, brother and sister’ to follow Jesus ~~ not necessarily in the physical sense, but following Jesus meant a decision to not practice ‘religion’ but to have a relationship. There are those who have taken up their cross and bare the grief of ridicule and being ostracized from all family ties.
Count the cost, Girlfriend ~~ it might be in the form of a promotion at work, recognition in the community, recognition among your peers, a sports scholarship for your children ~~ what will it cost you to truly follow your Savior?
As a Believer, maybe the bottom line is PRIDE ~~ our own selfishness to hold onto what we declare are ‘rightfully ours’ ~~ TIME, RESOURCES, KNOWLEDGE, TALENTS ~~ the very gifts we have received from God so often become the wedge between us and Him.
Are there past experiences that are still yet to be resolved ~~ broken relationships, unforgiveness, old hurts and pains ~~ these may not sound like things we would consider as valuable because they are so negative ~~ but Girlfriend, we tend to cling so tightly to them, that they actually have become ‘secret treasures.’
Count the cost ~~ if we are truly desiring to ‘get in close’ and follow Jesus, it will indeed cost us something of great value. Are we willing to release our tightly clenched fingers from around these things in order to pick up our cross and follow Him?
Go back to read Matthew 10:38 ~~ Jesus says we are worthy of being His if we take up our cross.
Our hands are only so big and can hold only so much at a single time ~~ what are YOU holding that needs to be released so that you can take up and ‘carry’ your cross?
I pray that you will join me in this examination of the Heart, Sweet Sister ~~ let’s allow God to mold our character and breathe into us life that transforms our minds so that we may be of effectual impact to a dying world. The Holy Spirit is ever faithful to empower us to go the distance and He will give us the strength to take up our cross. So whatever the cost, consider it PAID IN FULL by your Redeemer ~~ when He nailed it to His Cross.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~