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execution, they were showing now whose rule they were under, they had submitted to the rule of law – Roman law.

In saying Take up your cross and follow me, Jesus is talking about submitting to His rule in your life. This is denying self. Deciding that you will do your best to live life God’s way.

He is also honest about God’s way that it will not be glory glory Hallelujah all the way. The evil offers that glory now but forgets to tell you that it will all end in tears and pain and suffering. Possibly nothing less than eternity without God.

Jesus promises glory but does not deny that there will be a cost on the way. There will be suffering and pain as a part of life, some self-inflicted, some by others, some beyond our control. We have only to look at the life of Jesus. Just recently Peter and the disciples have caused Him pain by not having grasped His ministry and mission, bring out the rebuke get behind me satan – revisiting in some ways the temptation/testing in the wilderness at the start of His ministry. There was the rejection by the authorities, and of course the final week of His life.

To walk in Jesus footsteps, we have to follow His example. He denied His personal preferences, as I guess he really didn’t want to be crucified as the prayer in Gethsemane suggests. To do what God wanted.

That is the denying of self that Jesus calls us all too. We might as part of the discipline undertake some self-denial, but unless that leads us to denying self and desires and motives it is pretty fruitless.

 What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?  Mark 8:36-37 (MSG)

The real you, the real me is the one God created and equipped by grace and gifts and saved into eternal life. Doing it ‘my way’ is to deny that, doing it God’s way requires we deny self, submit to God (take up our cross) and follow His will and plan and purpose for our lives.

So I guess personally I would have to say, whilst I am retiring, God still has plans and purpose for me and those are the plans and purpose I will be seeking to follow, and over the coming weeks and months seeking to clarify. For God tends not to call out of, but call into.

May He bless us this lent as we make time to seek, to discern His plan and His purpose in our lives more clearly.