Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:34-36)
This to me is what it means to be a Christian; to follow Jesus, and not yourself. The essence of denying to ones’ self is easy on the surface, and yet an altogether different, and extremely difficult, thing to do. A call to serve Christ is not for the faint of heart – for it will bring difficulties and strife that not everyone can bear. I myself have felt the plenary calling to serve the Lord. Yet in doing so, I have distanced myself from the vulgar jokes and lewd behavior that once typified my daily course in life. In answering the call to serve Him, it has been both easy and difficult. William Barclay wrote:
“Jesus never sought to lure men to Him by the offer of an easy way; He sought to challenge them, to waken the sleeping chivalry in their souls, by the offer of a way than which none could be higher and harder. He came not to make life easy, but to make men great.” (1962, page. 206)
The final verse (v.36) is such a powerful question in that it takes much effort to truly grasp. To think of all the people over time who have given so much of their lives to a: business, endeavor, dream, team, and for the sake of fortune and fame lost everything that remains but a wishful thought every night for a childless couple or lonely soul. I know that Christ can truly fulfill our lives in ways that many think is just fairy tale. For them, all I can do is pray and mirror the life God has shown me in His son, Christ Jesus.
Barclay, William. (1962). The Gospel of Mark: The daily study bible. Scotland: St. Andrew Press.