January 10, 2022
The Year of our Lord, Jesus Christ
January 10, 2022
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
The cost. For any decision of life there is a cost. There are real costs, opportunity cost, emotional cost, costs of relationships, physical costs, on and on the list could go. Suffice it to say it costs something to follow Jesus. He is not coy about it, clandestine about it, stealthy, or even quiet about it. Our Lord wants each and every person to know of the cost upfront so that they can make an informed decision. The cost of following Him is in part, to deny oneself, die to oneself, be willing to suffer.
No wonder so few truly follow Him.
In 1896 a man named Charles Monroe Sheldon authored a book called In His Steps. What a book! It became a best-seller. It sold over 5o million copies and is still one of the best-selling books of all time. The actual title is In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do. If you have never read it, please make it a priority, it’s worth the time. It may be well and good to learn of others’ experiences that result from following the Lord. But frankly, those will be pale in light of your own.
Nothing can eclipse the bright light of introspection that the Lord will shine into your understanding when and if you accept His invitation to Follow me. Just this one simple act of denying self is amazingly enlightening. Try for a day, a week, a month, to live in such a way as to deny yourself. Meaning, live for others. Instead of seeking comfort, give comfort to the point of personal discomfort. In the place of personal ambition, assist others in fulfilling theirs. With no regard to your financial well-being, be concerned with the financial well-being of others. Things like this…not so easy, not at first. But by denying self for a long while they become part of you, and He will show you that He can and will comfort you, financially care for you, and allow you to realize your ambition which, of course, is to follow Him.
In a day and age of self, preoccupied with the “our four and no more” type philosophy, this thing of denying oneself is uncharted territory for most. One of the most common questions a pastor is asked is something like this, “How can I know the will of God?” The answer is easy: Follow Me, but the reality is difficult for it costs something, a great something.
William T. Howe, Ph.D.