"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life." Matthew 16:24-25 (NLV)
"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." John 12:24-25
Throughout the New Testament in the words of Christ we are confronted with perhaps our most difficult challenge: to die daily. We are not called to die physically, but personally. It is the road to humility because it means that we have to acknowledge that we don't know everything and that we may not know what is best for our lives. This cross, which must be borne each day, is what separates those who simply believe in Him from those who are truly all His.
Thomas Merton once said, "Many people are careful to avoid sin. They respect God as a Master. But their heart does not belong to Him. They are not really interested in Him. In actual practice, their minds and hearts are taken up with their own ambitions and troubles and comforts and pleasures and all their worldly interests and anxieties and fears. God is only invited to enter this charmed circle to smooth out difficulties and to dispense rewards."Let it be our goal to make our following of Christ a journey of heart that seeks to put aside our pride and step into the gentle and light yoke which Jesus promises us. (Matthew 11:28-30)