Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].
What exactly is a Christian? If you ask most believers today they would tell you that a Christian is someone who is born again. But the first time the word is ever used is in Acts 11:26 where the disciples where seen doing what Jesus had done, and they called them Christians, or Christ followers. Jesus wants us to be Christ followers, not just born again.
The first thing from the above verse we learn about being a Christ follower is that you must have a desire to follow Him. If you truly have such a desire then you must deny yourself, and this is where many believers miss the mark of being a Christ follower. To deny self means you don’t live your life according to your will. You choose to give up your will and instead walk in His will for your life, loosing sight of your own interests. Then you wholly conform your life to His. Jesus Himself did not get His own will. He declared in the garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will Father, but yours be done”.
For example Jesus went to God’s house on their day of worship, and yet many believers today do not. Jesus forgave everyone, but there are believers today who still hold grudges. Jesus did not take offense, but many believers are offended because they identify with self and not with Christ. If you want to be a Christian (Christ follower), you must not only desire to do so, you must give up your will to wholly follow after His example, not getting your own way. This is what Jesus died for, so we could become like Him and change our world.