Jesus taught some things that were—that still are—hard to follow. In the gospel of Mark, He said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34). Jesus required three things of those who wanted to come after Him, that is, to be His disciple. 1.) Deny yourself. 2.) Take up your cross and then 3.) following Jesus.
Although many seem to hope and try otherwise: YOU CANNOT FOLLOW JESUS ON YOUR OWN TERMS. You cannot truly be His follower part-way, or part-time, or only when and how it is comfortable and pleasing for you do so.
A true disciple of Jesus must follow to the point of a true loss of their own life. It’s not that all must become martyrs—although we should do that if called on—but that all must give their lives over to Him so completely that He rules our will.
The great battle between faith and unbelief, between faithfulness and unfaithfulness, is fought within our minds. It is a struggle over who controls our will. Our desires become the testing ground, the battleground is within us. Everyone has the same conflicting thoughts in themselves, but the faithful subject them to Christ. The apostle Paul said the goal was to “take every thought captive to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) and Peter taught that we are to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” (1 Pet. 3:15).