"Then Jesus said. . . , ‘If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him (her) deny himself (herself) - disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself (herself) and his (her) own interests and take up his (her) cross and follow Me - cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also."
Matthew 16:24, Amplified Bible
"Follow Me - The Way of the Cross Leads Home"
"Follow" - To pursue.
If Jesus came to me today and said, "Leave what you are doing behind and follow Me," how would I respond?
"You must be willing to follow if you want God to lead."
"Jesus hath many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of His cross."
Not long ago I was busily working on a project and complained to a friend about how tedious the endeavor was. She laughed and said, "Well remember Dorothy, there's no gain without pain."
We've all heard little sayings that are used as motivational tools in life, supposedly terrific techniques to get us up and moving.
But in Jesus' life some of the "sayings" He shared with His disciples, seem to be given only "lip-service" in our world today.
In this day and age I hear many people talk about being followers of Jesus, right down to the metal fish they have glued to the bumpers of their cars. "I'm a believer. I'm a follower. I'm a Christian." These labels are slapped on us like name tags at a party. If we we want to belong or feel like we fit-in with a certain group - we even make our labels more descriptive. We add a denominational title to more fully show our association and membership in the "club." There's nothing wrong with this at all.
It's wonderful to say, "Yes, Jesus! I'll follow you, Jesus!"
But when Jesus then responds to us by saying, "Take up your cross," we say, "Who? Me?"
This is the part of Jesus' saying we either skip over or ignore completely. Because to agree to the cross can sometimes be bitterly painful. If you don't believe me ask the apostle John who was exiled to the
"We pray that if any, anywhere, are fearing the cost of discipleship is too great, that they may be given to glimpse that treasure in heaven promised to all who forsake."
Taking up the cross is part of following Jesus. It's easy to long for a stroll on the hills of
But another part of Jesus' life is agonizing in the Garden of Gethsemane and the burden of a cross being carried through the streets of Jerusalem and the long arduous climb up a hill called Golgotha and the nails being pounded through innocent, tender hands of love and the stab of a spear through the heart. This is part of, "Follow Me." This is the "Take up your cross," part we don't like to hear about - but it is there. And to those followers who have embraced the cost of discipleship - the cross - the reward is almost too grand to put into words. But I'll let Dietrich Bonhoeffer share with you how he felt upon learning that he was to be executed for being part of a plot to kill Hitler. Here's what this devoted Christian said in the face of death: "You must never doubt that I'm traveling with gratitude and cheerfulness along the road where I'm being led. My past life is brim full of God's goodness, and my sins are covered by the forgiving love of Christ crucified."
The great preacher, C. H. Spurgeon wrote, "There are no crown wearers in heaven, who were not cross bearers on earth." Jesus' call to us today is still, "Take up your cross and follow Me."
Leaving and Following
My soul quietly,
Whispers to my soul?
Will this God of mine
Nor be satisfied?
What more, now,
Does He ask
To intrude upon
My comfort and serenity?
I have given
This, that, and the other.
Will this God of mine
Till He has
My soul and life-breath?
But how I treasure,
In silent satisfaction,
And all its accoutrements!
How happily I possess
My flat in
Decorated so tastefully
And so well.
How I delight in
The comfort and pleasures
I have gathered around me!
What would You
Trade these for,
Will You continue
To run Your Finger,
Over these smooth waters
Moving around me?
Will You disturb
Longer, my God?
Or will this be
A passing shadow
Over my soul
"Lord Jesus Christ,
alive and at large in the world,
help me to follow and find You there today,
in the places where I work,
and make plans.
Take me as a disciple of Your kingdom,
to see through Your eyes,
and hear the questions You are asking,
to welcome all others with Your trust and truth,
and to change the things that contradict God's love,
by the power of the cross
and the freedom of Your Spirit."
"If any person wills to follow Me, let her lose sight of herself and her own interests and take up her cross daily and cleave steadfastly to Me."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.