He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
how well I remember
wrestling with this passage in college.
I had just finished studying Shakespeare's Hamlet
echoing in my ears were the words from Polonius:
"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!"
"To thine own self be true..."
Claim your identity.
Be true to yourself, your heritage,
your gifts, your calling.
It's such great advice --
especially for a freshman in college.
Then that night I read your words:
"If any want to become my followers,
let them deny themselves
and take up their cross and follow me."
Deny themselves and take up their cross...
Which is it Lord?
"To thine own self be true"?
Now 20 years later,
I realize they are the same:
To be true to myself
to deny myself and
take up my cross to follow you
for that is who you made me to be.
Following you IS being true!
Using my gifts, my abilities, my passions
for you IS being true to who you made me to be.
Thank you for making me to praise you!
Indeed I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
May my life be
a love song to you
sung aloud to the world.