Following Jesus is a daily decision to pursue Him in the direction of the cross. Jesus tells the crowds this much in Mark 8 beginning in verse 34 when he says:
…“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34–38)
The Christian life is a daily pursuit in the direction of the cross. In other words, it is a daily dying to self and living for Christ, pursuing Him with all we have.
In order to run after Jesus in this way, we must see Jesus as more valuable than anything the world has to offer. Jesus makes that clear when He asks: “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” The world has a lot to offer — riches, fame, acceptance, comfort, pleasure, etc. The world can offer these things, but they don’t last. They are here today and gone tomorrow.
Take your house for instance. Many want and chase after a home that is full of the comforts of the day. You sacrifice for it. You spend time working on it. You might even become consumed by it. While it is not wrong to have a nice home and nice things, if God so chooses to bless you in that way, there is not a command against it. But we must not make our home our idol. Something we believe will give us more satisfaction and joy than the Lord. Something we believe will provide us with meaning and hope. Something we put before and in place of the Lord. A home won’t, it can’t, provide us with what the Lord can and does. A home will let us down, whereas the Lord will not.
It is terrifying to imagine but fires happen all the time. In many instances, everything in the home is ruined. All that you placed your hope in gone in a matter of a couple of hours. Taken by the flames. In that moment, if your hope is in your home, your life is over. But if it is in the Lord, it might be sad, but your life is not ruined, your hope is not dashed, your world has not gone up in flames.
The things of this world are here today and gone tomorrow. We must not put our hope in them. Instead, we must exclusively put our hope in Jesus.
How can we get to a place where we see Jesus as more valuable than anything world can offer?
We must realize the world will let us down. That it can’t save our soul. It can’t restore our relationship with the Father. Once we see the world for what it is, we can enjoy it, but not live for it.
Have you taken up your cross today? Are you pursuing Christ with all you have? Are you allowing God to direct and control your life?