And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)
When we become a disciple of Jesus, much is expected. Carrying a cross now means working through your burdens. in Jesus’ time it meant a torturous death amidst ridicule. The cost of following Jesus can be hatred, loss, scorn, and even death. Those of us who have freedom of religion are fortunate, but following Jesus must still involve death to self in order to do God’s will. When we do: “His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)
When we follow Him, He won’t leave us high and dry because His love for us is deeper than we know. After the Last Supper, Jesus said a prayer of love for you and me. “Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us … I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am.” (John 17:20-24)
Being shepherded with everlasting, unconditional, and complete love will change us. Love, joy, and peace will replace judgment, condemnation, and irritability.
Father God, thank you for loving me as much as You love Jesus. Help me want to be like Jesus and follow Him. Give me big dreams and Your power. Nudge me to do far more than I can think or imagine. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.