Luke 14:27–30 ‘And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.’ (v27)
If you join the army, it will be necessary for you to wear army uniform and obey army rules. If you sign up to an apprenticeship with a plumber, you will need to do the required work to make the grade.
If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, you will need to take up your cross and follow Him. These statements are listed in parallel to show that Jesus is not being awkward or setting the bar high in His requirements.
He is merely stating how things will be. The cross was of course an instrument of execution and victims were often called to carry the cross to the place where they would be killed.
Dying to self is the necessary requirement to do an apprenticeship with Jesus. Just as dying to your own ideas of how plumbing works is a necessary part of learning plumbing and dying to our own way of acting is a necessary part of army life.
Of course, we have often been sold the idea that Jesus can be an additional extra to our lives, and so people seem to think that we can be Christians without being disciples, when the derivation of the name ‘Christian’ comes from the idea of ‘little Christs’!
If all this seems very bleak, it is worth reminding ourselves that we are dying to a self which will one day die anyway, in order to enjoy a new kind of life – here and in the life to come.
Most of us can think of bits of our life which we would rather die to, and that’s a great place to start if we find this teaching tough.
Jesus promises joy as we enter His new way, and the new life He offers is so wonderful, we wouldn’t really want anything else!
A Prayer To Make:
Lord, it is a challenge to die to self, please give me the desire and
warm my heart to your ways. Amen.
An Action To Take:
List the bits of your life which you struggle to die to and talk to God about them.
Scripture To Consider:
1 Kgs 18:16–46; Dan. 3:16–30; Matt. 19:16–22; Rev. 2:1–7