Whoever does not carry his own cross[expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow after Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me] cannot be My disciple. – Luke 14:27
This puts the followers of Christ upon seeking the sweet fruits of peace and holiness in the bowels of devouring calamities; to get spiritual gain and advantage by outward loss; to grow richer unto God by worldly impoverishment; to converse more with God when separated from friends and relations; to value more the love of Christ when they smart by the world’s hatred; to partake more of holiness when he partakes less of the ease, peace, plenty of the world; to make use of the cross for the crucifying of the flesh; to make sin more hateful and dreadful, the conscience more tender, the world less tempting, more contemptible, grace more active and lively, the word more sweet and effectual, prayer more fervent and affectionate, the appearing of Christ more lovely and desirable, the conversation more heavenly. To hear the cross as a disciple of Christ, is to bring forth more fruit in bearing of it. – D. Clarkson
There is a big difference between being fans of Jesus and being followers of Jesus. What seems like radical Christianity for us today, was normal Christianity and the lifestyle of early believers. These were true examples of disciples of Jesus Christ. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they turned their world upside down for the sake of Christ. Ordinary people who refused to keep the truth of the gospel to themselves. Consequently, Jesus still desires that we “Follow Him” and become His “True Disciples” today—ordinary people like you and me whom God can use to fulfill the Great Commission – Jackie Glavind
To follow is to be led by the Spirit. To be led, you must persistently and patiently sit in humble silence to wait on the Lord, as you listen for his word within your heart to speak to you; then you must obey Him. Self-denial occurs by obeying the Lord’s voice instead of your will, (His will, not your will); this is the inward cross of self-denial. First, He will lead you out of darkness to a sinless state; to then guide your thoughts, words, and works; which works show His glory and love to the world.
To deny oneself means to choose by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to live daily in the spiritual reality that Paul shared with the Corinthians: “You are not your own; you have been brought with a price” (1 Cor 6: 19-20). “To deny oneself …is to turn away from the idolatry of self-centeredness” (C.E. B. Canfield). Once we place our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior we become his bondservants, and we begin to learn to live our lives to fulfill his will, not our own. We will need to learn to deny our self-confidence, self-adequacy and self-sufficiency which we were taught by the spirit of this age. Either Jesus is Lord of our lives or we are. We cannot have it both ways. And this is a process of learning which never ceases until we join him in eternity. – Ron Ritchie