We all leave a bit of ourselves behind when we move to a new place. But to become a long-term resident of Villas Las Estrellas, Antarctica, a cold and desolate place, leaving a piece of yourself behind is a literal thing. With the nearest hospital 625 miles away, a person will be in serious trouble if their appendix bursts. So every citizen must first undergo an appendectomy before moving there.
Drastic, right? But it’s not as drastic as becoming a resident of the kingdom of God. Because people want to follow Jesus on their own terms and not His (Matthew 16:25–27), He redefines what it means to be a disciple. He said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (v. 24). This includes being prepared to let go of anything that competes with Him and His kingdom. And as we take up our cross, we declare a willingness to undergo social and political oppression and even death for the sake of devotion to Christ. Along with letting go and taking up, we’re also to take on a willingness to truly follow Him. This is a moment-by-moment posture of following His lead as He guides us into service and sacrifice.
Following Jesus means so much more than leaving a little piece of our lives behind. As He helps us, it’s about submitting and surrendering our whole lives—including our bodies—to Him alone.