Welcome to Walk-on Wednesday. By Hump Day, we are struggling, but we believe a good devotion can strengthen us to finish the week strong.
If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. Mark 8:34 NLT
I followed my cousin into the room—and discovered a new world.
The old home my maternal grandparents lived in had a “front room,” as my grandmother called it. Large floor-to-ceiling sliding doors separated this room from the hallway. When entering the room, an armed chair on the right greeted me, followed by an end table and a couch that matched the chair. Then came another end table, followed by an armless chair. Rounding out the room was an old, converted player piano. On the far end of the room was a boarded-up fireplace.
Since my grandmother’s house had no central heat—or even a space heater in this room—my cousin and I only visited this room during the warm months. Although my grandmother warned us not to play in this room—or mess up her furniture—we sometimes didn’t listen.
What I did do when I followed my cousin there was play the old piano. Mom could have taught me how to play the piano. She was an accomplished pianist. But I wasn’t interested. Playing “Chopsticks” and other little tunes—that didn’t require learning what playing the piano would have required—did interest me. And my cousin whom I followed into the room taught me.
Jesus said following Him involved taking up a cross and giving up one’s own way. Some did. Many didn’t. And some who did initially, didn’t later.
As the people did when Jesus was on earth, I must choose to follow. He won’t force me—but He does share the cost should I choose to. I must leave my own ways and take up a cross. In Jesus’ day, the cross wasn’t a fancy piece of jewelry a person wore around their neck or on their wrist. It was a rough piece of wood where authorities nailed a criminal until he died. And the criminal had to carry this cross to the place of their death. Not an exciting picture. That’s why it involves giving up my way.
When we choose to follow Jesus, we agree to make different decisions. Before following Him, our decisions lead to selfish endeavors. After we choose Jesus, the opposite should hold true. He’ll take us to places of sacrifice, as He had to make when He gave up His life to pay for our sins. He’ll also take us to the high places of joy and fulfillment. Although He had no place to lay His head, He lived life as God intends for all of us to live it. A different way…but a way of contentment.
The obedience of following Jesus comes with a cost and isn’t easy, but the rewards are great—as was the reward of following my cousin into the front room. I learned something I didn’t know before. And by following Jesus, we’ll learn many life lessons we’ll never learn any other way. He’ll teach us to live according to the Father’s will.
Don’t follow just anyone. Choose to follow Jesus into the best life ever.
Prayer: Father, give us the courage to follow You, regardless of where You lead us.
Tweetable: Are you following Jesus...or not?
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