Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back, no turning back.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matt. 16:24)
The road to God is the road to Calvary, the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering. To know true love, God’s love, is to do God’s will. To do God’s will is to follow Jesus. To follow Jesus is to be willing to go to the cross. To follow Jesus to the cross is to die to one’s self-interests. To die to one’s self-interests is to live for Christ. To live for Christ is to know true love, true joy, and true peace.
Our desire for God will bring us to the cross where our fleshly lusts, desires, and passions will be crucified with Him. It is only then that we can begin to truly know Him; to truly know the abundant life Jesus died to give us (Jn. 10:10). We can no longer pursue the things of the world—self-actualization, self-interest, self-esteem. Instead, we choose to seek God with our whole heart and being—all that we are, all that we have, all that we desire. When we crucify the world, we desperately seek God, cleanse our hands, purify our heart, suffer affliction, and humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God. Jesus voluntarily carried His cross on the road to suffering, His heart overflowing with pure love. He died for us so that we could live for Him. But first, we must die to ourself. Can we do any less than love Him, carrying our cross on our Via Dolorosa and live for Him? We are exhorted to follow Him. To follow Him is to understand the painful cross of love, to die to our self-interests and to know true love, true joy, and true peace, keeping our eyes fixed on our eternal home in heaven.
Is your everyday life and conversation influenced by the cross—or at least more so today than it was last year? Are you willing to crucify your self-interests for Christ? What marks of Jesus do you wear on your body? It is a sobering truth that when you crucify yourself to the world you must follow Jesus to the cross. That means you will suffer. There is no other way. The road to calvary is a difficult road, not one for cowards or the faint of heart. Are you willing to take up the challenge? Will you decide now to follow Jesus? No turning back, no turning back.