This Gospel is a call to be a follower of Jesus, as a gracious act of God. Following Jesus is something we are able to do because God loves us and has forgiven us. God's love and forgiveness enable us to be like Christ, and with his own Spirit change our lives from one of self-serving to serving as a servant. The challenge of being a disciple of Christ involves a complete change in our lives. Jesus speaks plainly about what it will mean to be one of his followers; we must deny our tendency toward living a self-centered life to living a Christ-centered life. No longer are our personal concerns of primary importance. As a disciple, our concerns are consistent with God's will. God becomes the guiding force in our lives. No longer can we set the conditions for our lives and the lives of others. As a follower of God, it is God's will that rules. A disciple of Christ must be willing to "take up their cross." That is to say, we must be willing to adopt the principle of self-denial. A disciple's life involves sacrificial service. Each day a disciple has the opportunity to renew the character of their baptism; we have the challenge to put aside self-service in order to take up self-sacrifice. Each day we have the opportunity to let Christ lives through us and to take seriously the demands of God and the needs of others. Self-concern gives way to the greater concern of the love of God. The disciple is to learn from and follow Christ. This means we will regularly be renewed by forgiveness, have love for one another, and care for those who need our help. As a disciple, we are involved with a new way of life. When we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, our entire lives are affected. Christ enables his disciples to lose, to give up, desires that do not reflect who we are as people created in God's image. Christ empowers his disciples to live life as the Creator originally intended us to live our lives.