Imagine if after the sermon on Sunday, instead of the usual altar call for salvation, your pastor says
“Come follow Jesus, and you may face the loss of friends, family, reputation, career, and possibly even your life”?
How many people do you think will respond? Will you respond?
It sounds unpalatable and positively uninviting but that is what Jesus meant when He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me.”
Mark 8:34 (NLT)
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.
Following Jesus is easy when life runs smoothly; our true commitment to Him is revealed when challenges come. True followership demands sacrifice, and Jesus never hid that cost. Jesus was quite clear on what it takes to be a disciple. His message is different from the typical gospel message.
Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing some of your closest friends? Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means alienation from your family? Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means the loss of your reputation? Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your job? Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your life?
Following Jesus does not necessarily mean all these things wi happen to you. But there are places in the world where these things are a stark reality.
Are you willing to give up your hopes, dreams, possessions, even your very life if need be for the cause of Christ?
If you willingly take up your cross and you are willing to be his disciple, the reward is worth the price.