During a recent trip to Jerusalem, I had this romantic idea for a morning run: Get up early; run from my hotel up the Mount of Olives; and watch the sunrise over the places where Jesus lived, died, and rose for me.
But I had no clue how hard that would be. To get to the finish line, I had to plunge into one valley and climb out of it. Then I had to repeat the process, a 997-foot elevation hike that left my lungs gasping for oxygen and my thighs begging for mercy.
That experience reminded me of something Jesus often said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Following Jesus is more painful than a Jerusalem run. It’s more like denying some of your deepest urges. It’s more like taking up a cross.
Prioritizing Jesus in all you do will be agonizing. If the selfish part of your heart doesn’t scream like my burning legs, the people around you might. Following every command all of the time is never easy. So please don’t be too romantic about this journey with Jesus.
Yet please don’t forget he is worth it. To be with Jesus is to be constantly loved, completely forgiven, absolutely accepted, unconditionally cherished, and eternally safe. At the end of my run, I saw the sun come up, and it was breathtaking. And at the end of your life, you will see something infinitely better—the face of God!
Nothing is more glorious—and more worth it—than that.