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.” (Mark 8:34)

“GOD WANTS YOU TO BE RICH and have everything you want!” A TV preacher said this during past programs, but a viewer complained in a letter that he did not get what he wanted when he prayed for a brand new Cadillac.

“You weren’t specific when you asked for the Cadillac,” the preacher responded. “You need to tell God what color Cadillac you want and also tell Him what options you want.”

Followers of that TV preacher surely won’t hear him mention self-denial and cross bearing, but Jesus mentioned both terms as prerequisites to following Him. We need to revisit these prerequisites of discipleship and remind ourselves that the purpose of following Jesus is not to be served by Him, but to serve Him without counting the cost. Of course, it isn’t wrong to own a Cadillac if it doesn’t own us.

Faithful followers of Christ, like John Wesley and D. L. Moody, never asked the Lord, “What’s in it for me?” Their passion was to serve Him anytime, anywhere, and any way He chose.

When Saul of Tarsus became a believer, he asked, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10). Shouldn’t we ask this question, and not, “Lord, what will you do for me?”

Forego something today in order to serve Christ with your whole heart.

Jim Dyet is a retired editor, a part-time pastor, and an avid golfer. He and his wife, Gloria, have been married fifty-five years.