“If anyone desires to come after Me let Him deny himself and take up His cross and follow Me.” - Matthew 16:24
The call to follow the Lord Jesus is not directed to a certain few selected individuals but to anyone. Anyone, irrespective of their position, or responsibility in life, can qualify. All that is required is a desire to be a follower of the Lord Jesus - a desire that is prompted from within by the Holy Spirit to emulate Him.
Jesus does stipulate certain requirements.
Firstly, deny yourself, give up all your rights. This is the exact opposite of the present worldview where everyone is demanding their “rights”. But Jesus wants your will to become merged into His will. Your life is no longer filled with self-interests and directed according to your will but to His.
When you look at the life of Jesus you see the will of God in action. In John 6:38, Jesus said, “I came not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me.” Everything Jesus did was the will of God. In following Jesus today desire the will of God to be manifested. To do and be in His will today is better than worldly success.
To take up a cross is not His cross but a personal cross. His cross was one of misunderstanding, persecution, criticism and suffering. To be His follower means that I will be treated no differently by the ungodly and religious world than He was treated. My cross I willingly bear today and face the hostility that may come against me with joy as I follow Him.
Dear Lord Jesus, You left me an example that I may follow in Your footsteps. Today I decide to deny self and do Your will. I willingly take up my cross to follow You wherever You may lead me and for whatever Your will is for me today.