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? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? —Mark 8:34-37

            Being a disciple of Jesus and following Him includes self-denial.  There is much that the flesh wants in this life— comfort surely being high on the list— but the cross that we are given, the race marked out for us will include difficulty as times as well as joy.  We war against the world, the flesh and the devil and the easy way to take is to cave in to them, but we must stand firm in the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20).

            The easy way does not include self-denial, but the easy way fails to be a disciple of Jesus by allowing all kinds of self-indulgence.  Instead of taking up the cross, instead of running the race the Lord desires us to run, the self-focused person does what they want to do.  They do their own will instead of the Lord’s will.  They have the interests of man in mind and not the interests of God.  By this they think they are truly living, but in reality they are losing life and forfeiting their soul.

            Let us be our Lord’s disciple.  Let us practice self-denial.  Let us take up the cross— the work that He has for us (Ephesians 2:10).  Let us truly follow our Lord in His desires according to His will.  Yes, Dear Father may this be so by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son Jesus.  So be it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu2S9y3r0XE&t=201s

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