23 Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."
This intimates to me that unless we're following the Lord daily, we're not following him at all. It must become engrained, as part of who we are, as what characterizes our lives.
Now Jesus is no longer present with us in the same way he was with the disciples. He is glorified and seated at the right hand of the Father, someday to return. However, we in Jesus are his Body. We remain here on earth. And by the Holy Spirit, Jesus is intimately with all of his own. Therefore we can continue to follow him, by the Spirit, in fellowship with his Body, living missionally as a light in him to the world.
But it must be daily. Whatever that might mean for you, or for me- it certainly does mean denying ourselves. In other words, no longer living for ourselves, or with ourselves at the center. But living as those who by faith have Christ living in them. Living with Jesus as the center of our focus and walk. And it means taking up our cross. Each of us has one. And with it, following Jesus. Which I see as simply losing our lives in this world, for Jesus and the gospel. That should be our passion. That, by the Spirit, should become our daily way of life.
This doesn't mean that we live by a set of hum-drum rules and regulations. Instead it is an adventure with God. Into the unexpected. Especially in blessing. And really living in our Father's world. Yet ready to face hardship and trials. And even die on our cross. Lord, help us to so follow you. Amen.