Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”
We are given three instructions for discipleship:
- Deny yourself – Stop acting like the universe revolves around you, see to the needs of others, live according to the Spirit √
- Take up your cross daily – Bear up under the burdens (responsibilities) of your faith and the responsibilities you have accepted either willingly or as a result of your actions √
- Follow me – Wait! What?
How can we follow if we don’t see where the other person is going? In order to follow Christ, we must walk in His footsteps. The Greek word for this is akolouthei. It is an imperative command. We are expected (commanded) to do it. The meaning is to walk alongside someone, in lockstep, hips next to each other. We are to do what Jesus did:
- Yield every aspect of our lives to the Holy Spirit, regardless of our estimation of our ability to do it by ourselves
- Depend completely upon God to provide for our every need
- Spend regular time communicating with our Father in Heaven in prayer
- Getting direction from God for our daily activities
- Fast and pray regularly to draw close to our Father in Heaven
- Study God’s Word to be an approved workman
- Request that God reveal His calling in our lives, and fulfill that calling, even if it means going to our death
There are others, but this is a good starting point. To follow Jesus does not mean to walk ahead of Him. When we do that, we can’t see where He is going, and may miss a critical turn or stop. To walk behind Him at a distance is to miss what He is doing and not being a part of what He has planned. It is only by akolouthei that we are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things, for the right reasons, that the outcome would glorify God.
So, let’s ask the question: where am I in my akolouthei?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, I come before You to spend time with You today. Please see to all the needs of Your servant. Grant me strength to do what You have called me to do today. Reveal Your will for me as I offer my body as a living sacrifice to You, that I will be able to fulfill it with Your strength, guidance, and discernment. Help me to walk alongside You as You work in the world today. Show me where You are working so that I may join You and use the gifts that the Holy Spirit has provided to me to glorify Your Name. May all praise, glory, honor, strength, and dominion be Yours and Yours alone, forever and ever. Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?