Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. Mark 8:34 (NLT)
Someone once said that the biggest word in the English language is the the word "if". The word "if" implies possibilities, it implies chance and it implies choice. In the context of the above verse, there is the possibility of following Christ; the offer is made. There is the chance that a person will follow Christ; but in order for that to happen, a choice must be made.
It is incredible to me, that in spite of His great love for me, despite what He has done to show that love by dying on the cross for my sins, Jesus still gives me the choice of whether I will follow Him or not. He still leaves it up to me to choose my way or His way. I decide who and what I will live my life for, and my ultimate choice is made by the small daily choices I make.
It is not a one time choice to follow Christ, but a daily choice. John of the Cross, a 16th Century Spanish spiritualist, put it this way:
"Determine in your heart that you want to reach the highest place in God... And once you have set your heart on this upward path, you will have to choose it every day, and many times during each day. For indeed your desire to rise to higher places in spirit will face many obstacles." (Living Flame of Love:Stanza I, quoted in You Set My Spirit Free)
Who do you choose to live for? Your choice will be reflected in the choices you make each day.