Who are you following? What are you following?
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Mark 8:34
If you are a Christian, you've made the commitment to follow Jesus. That's what He expects. But notice what else he expects. He expects you to deny self. In fact, in order to follow Him, you have to deny self first, it seems.
Is following easy? Is denying self easy? Often times it's not easy to do either one. You may think it's easy to follow, but if you really dig deep and examine your own life, it's not quite so easy. It's easy to get caught up in the things of the world. It's easy to get all caught up in the "it's all about me" society we live in.
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. Matthew 4:19-25
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Luke 5:27-33
Reading the scriptures above, it seems that the apostles Jesus called immediately left all they had and followed Him. There was no hesitation. There was no looking back. There was no clinging to what was left behind.
Jesus wants your followship. It's probably not a word, but let's make it one.
You often hear about Jesus wanting a relationship with you. Until the new version of the NIV Bible came out recently, that word wasn't in the scriptures, except when used in other places not relating to Jesus. It seems that some would say this "relationship" because it's like a friend, pal, someone you who can come to you and you can go to and catch up with from time to time. That word is used to bring Jesus down to our level - our human thinking. That's not what the scriptures teach at all. Jesus wants to lift us up, not us to bring Him down.
Jesus wants you to deny self. He wants you to follow Him daily. He wants you to become more and more like Him.
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21