I have always been intrigued when Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”  It seems rather strange in our day and age for him to say that. But notice in Matthew 16:24 He says before that, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves.”  

To be a follower of Christ means to deny our sins, passions and agenda. We hear much about accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior but not as much about denying ourselves.  We all have different crosses to bear but must die daily becoming the person He desires us to be.  Dying to self means becoming a servant to others by putting their needs before ours.  

Dying to self produces fruit in our lives and leads us to holiness, forsaking sin.  Disciples are not led by feelings but obedience to the Word and leading of the Holy Spirit.  Being a follower of Jesus comes with a cost, surrendering our will to His way.  

A.W. Pink once said, “Taking up my cross means a life voluntarily surrendered to God.”  A follower raises the white flag and allows the Savior to lead.

Ken Locke is community ministries director of The Salvation Army in Warsaw and director of the Greater Warsaw Ministerial Association. Have ideas for this column? Go to www.gwma.info.