And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me]. Mark 8:34 AMP
This life with Jesus comes with a very different perspective to that of most of the world around us. There can be a continual struggle between our own thoughts, our need for control, and God's thoughts and plans.
Calling to the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering, embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Mark 8:34 The Message
I recently listened to a sermon on God's promises being about releasing future grace into our lives. One of the points was about the importance of learning how to worship in the 'middle' - when you are waiting for the circumstance to change. The example cited was the way Mary approached Jesus when Lazarus had died (John 11:32).
After over five years of being in the 'middle' and indeed being on a journey of learning how to worship God, a growing desire to be in His presence more than less, and learning how to better embrace the suffering, not that I have 'arrived' by any means, but it did make me wonder, how much longer God? How much more do we need to learn? Obviously a lot! It is a journey of constantly learning how deny oneself and how to follow.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. Matthew 16:24 AMP
Don't you love those words - deny himself, disregard, lose sight of, forget himself and his own interests. What a heart challenge. And then the, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also - takes following to a whole new level.
For each of us the out-working of the 'follow me' journey looks different. Our inward 'follow me' journey's too are different as we walk along our life path with Jesus. But we always need to be checking in with God, asking are we following the way He wants us to follow, or have we let those fleshly desires creep in?
Today let's ask God if there is a new or different way that He wants us to follow Him? And if we have gone off course and need adjustment, let's have the courage to repent and obey.
The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27 AMP