Jesus told His disciples in Luke 9:23, “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'” Those are the requirements to being a true follower of Jesus Christ. It is definitely not easy, that’s why Jesus also told them, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14)
In fact, looking back at Luke 9, here is what verse 22 says, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” That is the verse before He told them “If anyone would come after me…” It was as if He was telling them, “Look, I must suffer, and it won’t be any different for you!”
I’ve mentioned these requirements often, because I think too many times we just get so used to hearing them that we forget about them. And, a lot of that has to do with the fact that we don’t want to deny self, we don’t want to have to suffer. That’s what the whole “prosperity gospel” is about – to those followers, the Christian life should be a path to luxury, fun, and ease! But that’s not the TRUE Gospel!!
Deny Self – Following Jesus first involves a complete transformation. It’s not about me anymore, it’s ALL about Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY way to salvation!
Die Daily – Daily we must be crucified to our fleshly desires and the world around us. Christ should so consume our lives that NOTHING else matters!
Follow Me – Jesus is life, He created life, and In Him IS life. We must follow His example in all that we do.
Again, I am reminded of those words, “…those who find it are few.” The sad part is, there are thousands who think they have found it, they are sadly lost in their sin. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) He is the ONLY way to true life in this world and everlasting life in the hereafter!