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“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” -Mark 8:34
When Jesus spoke to his own about the demands of discipleship, the words were strong and foreboding.
“Deny … take up [your] cross … follow.” Those are the words of Jesus.
“Pamper yourself … indulge … grab the gusto.” Those are the words of the world.
Augustine reminds all Christians that servanthood involves both a privilege and a price.
WALK WITH AUGUSTINE
It is good to follow Christ. But we must see by what way we are to follow.
For when the Lord spoke the words of Mark 8, he had not already risen from the dead. He had not yet suffered, not yet come to the cross, not yet felt the dishonoring, the outrages, the scourging, the thorns, the wounds, the mockeries, the insults, the death.
Rough may be the way, but follow on. Where Christ has gone is worn smooth.
Who would not wish to be exalted? Honor is pleasing to all. But humility is the path to it.
The two disciples disliked taking this step of humility. They sought exaltation, one at the right hand and the other at the left [see Mark 10:37
They did not see the cross.
WALK CLOSER TO GOD
Christ’s invitation to discipleship is an invitation to die. Die to self. To the world. To personal ambition.
It is a call to follow Jesus in his life. In his death. In his resurrection.
It is a reminder that exaltation and elevation in God’s sight are the by-products of humility.
Small wonder there is so seldom a crowd gathered at the cross. For few are willing to pay the price that discipleship demands.
But it’s a price well worth paying, for a life of discipleship is the most fulfilling life of all.
Will you pay the price?