“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26-27)
What is the cost of discipleship? Jesus tells us that it is the denial of self. That is not the same as self-denial in which we deny things to ourselves at times such as food, water or material possessions in an attempt to discipline our fleshly appetites and build up our spiritual or physical strength. Denial of self involves surrendering my whole life with my wants and desires to God to do what He wants, to trust Him to take care of all that I need. For material possessions and worldly pleasures do not count for eternity: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Jesus is the example for us to follow. He surrendered the glory of heaven to come to earth as a man and be abused and killed. If we say we are His, then we must act as He did. We give up all for the cause if the Kingdom of God. We begin by loving others. We take hold of the hands of our brethren, and do good to all men. We must do what Jesus did, forgive, love, do good, lay down our lives for others. Our obedience, not our mere words, not our mere profession of faith is the essential aspect and demonstration of our faith.