"Jesus said to all: 'Whoever wishes to be My follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in My steps.' " —Luke 9:23
In the above Scripture verse, Jesus speaks of a three-part process to becoming His disciple:
- Deny ourselves. The first requirement of being a follower of Jesus, that is, His disciple, is to deny our very self. Self-denial is not unusual, even among non-Christians. "Athletes deny themselves all sorts of things. They do this to win a crown" (1 Cor 9:25). People deny themselves in order to make a fortune, build a business, etc. Of course, Jesus is referring to much more than acts of self-denial; He calls us to deny ourself at the deepest core of our being, so that our identity lies in Him alone.
- Take up your crosses daily. Again, this can be done by non-Christians. Caregivers, parents of disabled children, farmers, and others bear their crosses daily. Christ's followers are called to bear suffering and difficulties willingly, innocently, and with forgiving hearts.
- Follow in Jesus' steps. Following Jesus is what distinguishes the disciple. A disciple goes where Jesus goes, loves who He loves, and obeys His commandments. Jesus said: "Where I am, there will My servant be" (Jn 12:26). Jesus went without a place to lay His head (Lk 9:58) and chose the will of God rather than His own (Lk 22:42). He loved His enemies and even gave His life for them.
Deny your very self, take up your cross daily, and follow Jesus to and through the cross. Choose to be a disciple of Jesus.
Prayer: Father, may I be Jesus' disciple and "make disciples" who may then make disciples of others (see Mt 28:19).
Promise: "Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live." —Dt 30:19
Praise: Sarah forgave her alcoholic father and joined him at Mass.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 8, 2013
The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.