Terry R. Baughman
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23).
The common call of discipleship is, “Come, follow me!” Jesus established the pattern and extended the call to each of His disciples. He further clarified the extent of the commitment when He issued the imperative, “Take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” It’s not enough to just accept Him, there is a volitional response to His invitation. We must follow Him!
To follow Him is to be like Him! Emulate His example; adopt His attributes: imitate His actions. The call to discipleship is the challenge to become a disciple, forsaking our pre-determined will and all selfish agendas. It is a call to forsake all else, to follow Him.
Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you …” (Matthew 4:19). He has a plan for your life. Before the foundation of the world there was a lamb slain for the sins of the world and a divine design for all who would embrace the atonement and surrender to His defined destiny. The blueprint is drawn and the materials are accessible for the construction.
Jesus is the Way, and His path of discipleship is an avenue of service. He will show us the way as we seek Him. It is our privilege, our opportunity, and our responsibility to serve in His Kingdom. It is our duty, an open door of obligation. The open door of duty is the service entrance rather than the regal entry by the great hall of prominence. Some may distain the passage and feel that a royal son should not come by such a humble access. However, we must remember that this was His entrance. He “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). This is the way He walked and the path He chose for us. The service entrance provides direct access into His presence.
Jesus was our example in service. He “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). He has equipped us and enabled us not to just build up our self-image or to impress others, but that we may be empowered to serve beyond our natural ability or inclination. If Jesus, the Lord of Glory, did not come to be adored, served, and accommodated, how much more should we seek to give of ourselves to satisfy the needs of those who wish to find Him.
Awaken to service. The old excuses of why it is impossible to serve are no longer adequate. Inaction and inability are no longer valid reasons to neglect the duties of discipleship. An attitude of service is all that is needed to find more opportunities to serve. From a listening ear to manual labor anyone can find meaningful ways to serve in the Kingdom. With a fresh look, a ready mind, and a willing heart, seize the opportunities that God has placed before us, beyond the open door of duty.
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).