Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Three Word Wednesday :: And follow me

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. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
{Mark 8:34-36}

These verses came up in both church and small group on Sunday in separate lessons. They’re verses I’ve read before. But I’ve been thinking about them again the past few days.

Christians wear crosses around their necks. I’ve heard some say, “Well, that’s just my cross to bear.” But, really, as I’ve been thinking about how a cross symbolizes death.

Jesus wasn’t the only one who died on a brutal death hanging from a cross. But he was the only one who died that way, was buried, and then rose again.

Yes, a cross symbolizes death. But Jesus’ cross symbolizes life. {Tweet that.}

And that death and resurrection is something we can experience – at least figuratively – when we follow Jesus. That’s what he tells us to do after we take up our cross.

Follow me, the Savior of the world tells me.

Follow me, the only perfect being says to you.

Follow me, Jesus says it and means it.

Two words. But sometimes it’s hard to follow Jesus when our natural tendencies and society pull us in the opposite direction. Following Jesus is a decision we have to make over and over again, despite the chaos and destruction around us.

When Kevin Qualls spoke and taught Sunday at our church, he said following Jesus means modeling our lives after his example. {Tweet that.}

{Kevin is one of the members of the speaking team at our elder-led church. I alluded to a different speaker in another post recently.}

Following Jesus by modeling our lives after his makes sense to me, although I’ve never thought about it like that. Jesus lived and walked and breathed and endured temptation and died here on his earth. He had conversations and conflicts. And he left us with real-life examples. He endured much for us.

The fact Jesus tells us to deny ourselves and take up our crosses before he tells us to follow him guarantees that modeling our lives after his isn’t going to come easily. We have to make a decision to think beyond ourselves and whatever circumstances are filling our lives. We’re going to have hard days and struggles, but we can learn from them. We’re going to have to remember how to get to the point of following Jesus.

Have you ever walked through a struggle with someone you love? Think about when you did, their situation wasn’t very far from your thoughts. That’s what Jesus wants in our relationship with him. He endured so much and that – his ministry, his death, and his resurrection – shouldn’t be far from our thoughts. As we remember, we’ll more in step with his ways as we follow him. 

And, hey, #ThreeWordWednesday friends, I have a fun giveaway happening on Facebook. Come join me there to enter to win an autographed copy of Holley Gerth's new book, "You're Loved No Matter What." 

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  1. I often run ahead of or lag behind His lead. Here's to faithful following by His grace.

  2. KristinHillTaylor3/04/2015 10:45 AM

    So glad you could be encouraged, Jennifer! You definitely aren't alone carrying it - and I'm so thankful Jesus does come alongside us in every moment of our lives. I need to remember that myself. I love seeing you here, sweet friend.

  3. KristinHillTaylor3/04/2015 10:45 AM

    Oh, yes, me too. So grateful for grace ... and you being here!

  4. KristinHillTaylor3/04/2015 3:56 PM

    Thanks, Tiffany! I really love how when I go read all the posts linked up, God manages to weave a theme through them, even indirectly if not directly. The message for me today was about how God wants a relationship with us and that involves slowing down and being still so we can truly know him. Your post really spoke to me too. So glad you're here faithfully.

  5. The beauty of walking closely with the One Who called us and saved us is a we should remember with each step we take...I should remember with each step I take!!!
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  6. KristinHillTaylor3/05/2015 7:29 AM

    Yes, indeed. Glad for your sweet encouragement, Linda!