And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. — Mark 8:34 (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23)
The gospel leads to discipleship (Acts 14:21). If we are saved by accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ we are to be disciples of Christ. Being a disciple is being a follower of Jesus. A disciple of Christ is one who (1) believes his doctrine, (2) rests on his sacrifice, (3) imbibes his spirit, and (4) imitates his example (Matt. 10:24; Luke 14:26, 27, 33; John 6:69)*.
I was reminded yesterday of the cost of discipleship and convicted as to my level of commitment to follow Jesus. Are we taking our salvation seriously? If we are then we will heed the words of Christ when He said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, He must deny Himself.” So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. — Luke 1:33 Nothing can be more important than following and doing the will of God. If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. — Luke 14:26
Christ has set the standard for being a disciple (follower) of His. We must deny ourselves, all of our desires, plans, will, possessions, etc. and take up our cross and follow Him. Jesus says, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:38)
Discipleship is a serious matter that needs our immediate and faithful attention. My words cannot express how important an issue this is for all of us who call ourselves Christians. Jesus’ words express the importance and it is not to be taken lightly. I hope you take the time to examine your walk with the Lord Jesus Christ to assess your level of discipleship. Is Jesus everything to you? Is He the first thought on your mind when you rise in the morning and the last thought as you close your eyes at night? Is He the reason you live your life? Do you make it your ambition everyday to please Him and serve Him? Do you deny yourself for His glory? Are you willing to sacrifice your life for His? Are you willing to give up everything and/or go anywhere for Him?
Only you can answer those questions for yourself. Be true to God and talk to Him about your walk. He is waiting and wanting to help you to become the disciple that faithfully follows.
Continually seeking Him,
*Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary