Taking up our cross
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, 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, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. Luke 9:23-26
What comes to your mind when you hear the word discipleship? Discipleship is about being a follower of Jesus. It is found in Jesus' words in Luke 9:23, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me." What Jesus told His followers is the essence of discipleship. The cross of Christ was a place of great pain and humiliation, but it is also a place of great love. Jesus' suffered the disdain and ridicule on the cross in order to acquire life for us. He allowed Himself to be led to a place where He would suffer greatly. He did not seek His own desires. He did not remember a wrong suffered. Instead, He loved. He forgave. He showed mercy. This is what He meant when He said to pick up your cross and follow Him. He wants us to follow Him to the place where we die to self, where we live in humility, and where we are willing to forgive and love. This is what He is asking of us because this is how He lived His life. We have to choose to follow Him alone for we cannot serve two masters. “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other” (Luke 16:13). To be a disciple of Jesus means that we are trying to become like Him in many ways. God lets us choose our way, our needs, and our disciplines. Of course, He desires that we seek Him first; He desires that we love Him first. But, He will not force us into this. He lets us grow and learn from our success as well as our mistakes. He allows us to learn how pursuing selfish desires could hurt us. In His permissive will He allows us to go through the consequences because of our disobedience so we could grow understanding His absolute will, to be in Him. He provides the means for us to put others first. He arranges things so that we can make godly choices. In this, He is discipling us by providing wisdom so we could make the choices beneficial for our lives and glorifying to His name. Choose to follow Him and you will not be disappointed.
Noel De Guzman