Jesus said to everyone, “All who want to come after me
must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.”
Following after Jesus is costly, and the grace that he extends to us, though free, was obtained at a price. This paradox stands at the heart of the Christian faith. You must deny yourself and follow Jesus.
What keeps you from following Christ? Do you have an attachment to money? Is your identity so intertwined with a social group or class of people that you fear following Christ might transform your understanding of yourself? Are you sometimes self-righteous, or vain, or prideful, and worried that following Christ might bring your flaws into the light?
Following Christ means freedom from greed and can lead to a life of generosity. Following Christ means freedom from insecurities and brings you into the fellowship of the saints, who are called to love and accept you regardless of age, race, social status, or any other attribute. Following Christ means freedom from self-righteousness and for selflessness, freedom from vanity and for a deep realization of your beauty as a child of God. Following Christ means freedom from pride and for deep humility.
Will you take up your cross?
Almighty God, you call me to a costly way.
May I look to Jesus as my example, leaving behind every hindrance,
and willingly sacrifice anything that would keep me from being obedient to your call.