Jesus does not offer the fantasy of a cosy life. If we decide to follow Him there is no room for competing loyalties. Jesus is walking towards Jerusalem and we fall in line behind Him, forgetting to say goodbye to a 'normal' life.
If Jesus is the centre of our life, the cross is the way. The cross is the symbol of living for peace in a violent world. This is not a life that avoids difficulty - it is a life of stepping on snakes and scorpions. It is a life of moving to where Gods presence has been driven out to replant His Kingdom. To follow Jesus is to use Him as a rock to stand on while we put our shoulder to the wheel of the world. Carrying our cross means taking on the healing of the earth in a radical way.
Notice very carefully though that following Jesus should not be mindless. Disciples must think about what He is asking. It's like building a tower between heaven and earth. What will it take to finish the job? It's like taking on larger forces with lesser forces, risking battle when
overmatched. How will this mountain be climbed? It is not advisable to sign up with any secret pursuit other than the project of the Cross. Deciding to say ”Yes” to Jesus needs the practical wisdom of a good builder and of a battle hardened King!
In the late 1980's a volunteer offered to work for Sanctuary, an organisation serving refugees from Central America in the U.S.A. Sanctuary's leader said, 'Before you decide to join, let me pose some questions: Are you ready to have your telephone tapped by the Government? Are you prepared to have your neighbours shun you? Are
you strong enough to have your children ridiculed and harassed at school? Are you ready to be arrested and tried, with full media coverage? If you are not prepared for these things, you may not be ready to join. For when push comes to shove, if you fear these things, you will not be ready to do what needs to be done for refugees'. The
person decided to think things over. (David Rhoads, 'Reading Mark, Engaging the Gospels' p.53)