“Then He called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me and for the Gospel will save it.” — Mark 8:34-35
Following Jesus requires sacrifice. We should beware of any teaching that disregards this truth. Therefore, it would be wise to ask ourselves some self-reflective questions regarding this reality: What has it cost me to follow Jesus? What could it cost me to remain faithful to Jesus? And what are the things in my own life that hold me back from truly following Jesus?
The call from Jesus is clear. If we want to follow Him, then we have to devote ourselves to the denial of a self-focused mentality and lifestyle. For many of us, this might mean we must embrace a willingness to turn away from the way we are currently thinking and living. We are no longer to live in order to simply satisfy ourselves. We are to live in order to serve Jesus.
If Jesus is Master and King, then He is the one who sets the agenda. There is no negotiating with Him. The second that someone attempts to negotiate the authority of a king, that person is no longer respecting or recognizing his authority as king. “Taking up our cross,” as found in Mark 8:34, means we must die to our self-seeking pursuits, die to our desire for control, and die to our efforts to use God for our own agendas.
May we willingly lay down our swords of self-preservation to follow the way of King Jesus, and surrender to His leadership, proclaiming, “Yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.”
— Terry Evans, Atlanta Braves chaplain
If you would like to submit a reader devotional, please email all submissions to