“And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Luke 9:23, NASB
Take up your cross,
The call to be a disciple is not an easy one. Following someone implies you want to emulate them: do what they do, go where they go, act how they act.
Jesus’ call to follow was not a call to wealth, prosperity, popularity or superiority.
It was, by its very nature, a call to separation, unpopular living, servanthood and ultimately death.
It was not a one time call – do this today and you are set for life!
It was a call to daily sacrifice, daily hardship, daily dying.
No wonder so many found it difficult to take and walked away.
No wonder so many now disdain His voice, wanting the rewards He promised without the sacrifices required.
We have turned His calling into a mere monopoly card (think, “get out of hell free”), turned His character into only those things we wish to have (love and forgiveness), and made Him a God of our making, ignoring the God He says He is in His very Word. We want a self-serving God…a Genie in a bottle who grants our wishes but expects nothing of us.
Perhaps the reason we see Him this way is that we really do not know Him. He wants to be known. He has given us His very words to know and understand Him by.
I have been reading a great book by David Platt called Follow Me. Here is what Platt says:
“It is impossible to follow Jesus yet disregard, discredit, and disbelieve His Word.” – Platt
Impossible…not difficult, impossible.
When we disregard (do not read, study, listen, ignore altogether), discredit (believe there is a fallacy, only believe partially, do not trust), or disbelieve (think it is not true or completely fictional) we cannot possibly follow Him.
Hebrews 11:6 also uses the word impossible in relation to faith.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him…” Hebrews 11:6, NASB
They go hand in hand. If you do not believe His Word, it is impossible to live daily by faith, therefore, making it impossible to follow Him and please God.
Living daily by faith means we have knowledge of (know) and act upon (are obedient) to His Word. If we disregard, discredit, and disbelieve the Word, we are not living by faith nor are we following Him.