How do we become a student, a follower of
Jesus? Jesus makes it very clear, in His own words:
And He said to all,
If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his
cross daily and follow Me.
Jesus Clearly states that there are three pre-requisites to true
Denial of self
The first step in
following Jesus is – is to say no to ourselves!
The choice of
Christianity is not a choice between the devil and God. The choice
really is between God and ourselves.
Theresa of Avila,
states: “We do ourselves the most harm, when we do our own will”.
Her ministry companion,
John of the Cross states; “We have three enemies: the world, the
devil and ourselves – and we are our greatest enemy – the best
prayer to pray is to pray – Jesus deliver me from myself.”
The paradox is that
when we say no to ourselves and yes to God that we truly find
The lesson of how God
created us - (Gen 2:7) then the LORD God formed the man of dust
from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,
and the man became a living creature. Without the breath of God,
we are nothing but a glorified mud ball.
When we deny ourselves
as the source of our own lives, then we find God and realize that He
is the source of all our lives. (Acts 17:28) “…for in Him we live
and move and have our being…”
To deny ourselves, is
to say Yes to Him, Yes to what He wants.
To deny ourselves is to
cling to Jesus – the words of Claire of Assisi to Agnes of Prague:
“…to embrace Jesus is to put our arms around Him, but often our arms
are so full of other tings, that we are unable to embrace Him – the
first step is to let go of everything else”.
Take up your cross
To take up our cross is
to live in the knowledge of our impending death.
To live with eternity
The quickest avenue to
humility is to contemplate your own death. Evagrius Ponticus writes;
“…when the enemy of pride attacks, contemplate your own death and
it will leave you humble, ready to serve the Lord…”
There is a fable in
Greek literature of the fly who stopped on a chariot wheel after a
long race, looked back and said – “my, my what a dust storm I am
Moses wrote in
(Psalm 90:12) “…so teach us to number our days, so that we might
gain a heart of wisdom…”
When we realize that
this life is short and that we are here to fulfill is His call, His
destiny, His will for our lives. It is that perspective that makes
us serve Jesus with all our heart – Jesus said in (Matthew 10:38)
“and he who does not take up his crass and follow me is not worthy
Note that we have to
take up our crass daily – live daily with this perspective that we
will live forever.
Paul the Apostle, while
in prison, facing his impending death writes in (Philippians
1:21) “…for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…”
When Jesus called the
disciples He first called them to be with Him, (Mark 3:13-15)
And He went up into a
mountain and called near those whom He would. And they came to Him. And
He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send
them out to proclaim, and to have authority to heal sicknesses, and to
cast out demons.
How do we follow Jesus?
We start by trusting Him, not merely His words, His actions – But
We do that by giving
Him our full control.
The hardest thing to
give God is our future
When Jesus called the
disciples He made it very clear that they had to follow Him, not a
set out plan for the future.
Our fascination with
Jesus with the future has made us unable to follow Jesus in the
every day aspect of general life.
(Mar 1:17-18) And
Jesus said to them, Come after Me and I will make you fishers of
men. And immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
The idea is to follow
Jesus every day – trusting Him for everything – including our
future. He knows were we are going.
To follow Him is to
surrender to Him, knowing that He will bring the best.