What It Means To Be A Follower of Jesus Christ

Take up your cross and follow Jesus. These words have always been a mystery to me, so I wanted to share my thoughts with you on a clearer understanding of those words. This all leads to us thinking about how serious we are in following our Master and our Lord. Is it just words, or our we truly committed to following the One who gave up His life for us?

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2021-05-26
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Mark 8:34-36
TRANSLATION: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

BIBLE TEXT: 34 Then Jesus called the crowd and his followers to him. He said, “Any of you who want to be my follower must stop thinking about yourself and what you want. You must be willing to carry the cross that is given to you for following me. 35 Any of you who try to save the life you have will lose it. But you who give up your life for me and for the Good News will save it. 36 It is worth nothing for you to have the whole world if you yourself are lost.

APPLICATION: Some are afraid to get married, because they’re afraid of the freedoms they would lose as a single, unattached person. Some are hesitant to accept Jesus as Savior, because they are hesitant to give up their worldly freedoms. So what does it mean to actually surrender your life to the lordship of Jesus Christ? Some will tell you that it is the only way of getting into heaven when you die, and I agree with that. However, I believe that there are many more reasons for us to consider aligning ourselves with the Creator of the universe. For you see, there is no one else in the history of mankind that ever agreed to give up his/her life to show how much they truly love us. And why was this deep love so important? Well, God saw that mankind was struggling to follow His commands and therefore show themselves worthy of aligning themselves with Him, so He miraculously formed His very own Son to be born of a virgin. The reason for His coming, was that He would live among men, perform many miracles that would help affirm His infinite mercy and power, then die a cruel death on a cross, whereby showing how the sins of His believers would also die and therefore make them holy, just as He is holy. This was so important to God that He declared this would be the only means of sinful man aligning themselves with Him. The only means of forgiveness of sin. But in our Scripture today, we are told that moving from the world to becoming one with Him, would involve sacrifice. Not the kind of sacrifice that Jesus showed on the cross, but God wanted to see the heart of man being willing to sacrifice everything this world has to offer, in order to give up ourselves wholeheartedly to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Carrying that type of guilt and the burden of sin from this world was referred to as our ‘cross’ by Jesus in our Scripture today. So Jesus told His disciples and the crowd gathered, and He still tells His children today, that we are to give up our earthly cross – that burden of sin, and follow Him. In other words, make a 180 degree turn in our lives. In being of this world, we are following the likes and teachings of this world. A way of life in total opposition to that of Jesus Christ. So Jesus said that we must be willing to give that up and take on our new ‘skin’, a life dedicated to God and following the teachings and sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. The value for the child of God in giving up our earthly idols, practices and evil desires – our cross, is that we take on a new life fully committed to the life, teachings, unconditional love and forgiveness of a loving and sacrificial Savior as we head towards the place He has already prepared for us in heaven! IT WILL BE WORTH IT ALL dear friends! Let’s encourage one another as we give up our cross and follow Jesus!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: There is no greater love than for a man to give up his life for another. Jesus did this for us. Praise be to God for His wondrous acts of love to an undeserving people!

PRAYER: There was a chorus I learned as a very young person – ‘Oh the love of Jesus’! Although very challenging for us to understand that love where You so freely gave of Yourself on Calvary for us Lord, yet I know without a shadow of doubt that You would have it no other way. You created us and I believe that Your ultimate goal is to have us worship You and lift up Your name ever day until we join You in heaven one day soon. Please forgive us for ignoring that love at times and claim that we are enjoying things offered by this world. It is obvious that this world has nothing to offer us that compares to Your amazing love for us. Please continue to be patient with us as we learn to give up this heavy and burdensome cross of this wicked world, and learn to follow You in righteousness, love and concern for one another. We long to be where You are Lord. Please help us to overcome the world and live as children of our awesome God! AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Author: Ed Algreen

One of God's kids expressing his understanding of God's Word and sharing how it is affecting his life! May those who read it be blessed, encouraged, and drawn closer to the Lord!

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