Isaiah 25:1–26:21; Luke 9:1–27; Job 6:1–13
It’s easy to be devoted to a leader or a vision when it doesn’t require much of us. In following Jesus, the disciples didn’t have that option. They were called to follow Jesus in difficult circumstances—ones that required them to put their lives on the line. After Jesus told His disciples about His impending death and resurrection, He defined the true meaning of discipleship. His words required their immediate response and intense loyalty:
“And he said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross every day and follow me’ ” (Luke 9:23).
Daily the disciples needed to commit to Him, the kingdom He was ushering in, and the possibility of facing death. We like to quote this verse, but we might not think it applies in the same way today. Because we don’t face the same circumstances the disciples faced, we might not take the call to loyalty quite as seriously.
But loyalty shouldn’t be dictated by circumstance. Jesus had “to suffer many things and to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and to be killed” (Luke 9:22) to reconcile us to God. His sacrifice was incredibly costly; the grace extended to us came at a great price.
His sacrifice—not our circumstances—requires everything from us. It requires that we see our motives, our hopes, our actions—our daily lives—in the perspective of that costly grace. Jesus went on to say, “For what is a person benefited if he gains the whole world but loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:25). The gospel changes everything, and it speaks into every area of our lives. It requires us to deny our own interests. It requires us to take up our cross daily and follow Him.
How are you taking up your cross daily? What area of your life do you need to commit to Him?
Rebecca Van Noord
 Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.