Believing in Jesus isn't necessarily the same thing as following him. To believe in Jesus is to agree with a set of beliefs that our parents or a pastor or a friend or someone explained to us somewhere along the way. To follow Jesus, though, is to go where he says to go and do what he says to do.
But Jesus can be unpredictable. When Peter acknowledged that Jesus is "the Messiah" (see Mark 8:29), he probably had other ideas of where Jesus was leading. He probably thought Jesus was getting ready to launch a military campaign to overthrow their Roman oppressors.
But Jesus rebuked him: "Get away from me, Satan!" (see Mark 8:31-33).
Because following Jesus doesn't lead to celebrity; it leads to the cross.
The cross is the place where Jesus died and secured the forgiveness of God for us, but that's not all that the cross represents. The cross is also the place where we die: to our desire for control, pride, power, greed, and popularity. In order to live, we have to die.
When we die to the things that hinder us in our walk with Christ, when we let them go, then we gain the space and the strength to carry the things that matter - the things that make the life that Jesus is calling us to.
Helpless Scarecrows & the Living God
Rededication (and Repentance)