The German pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, poignantly stated, When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. This is a sobering reminder of the call of Christ to discipleship. Jesus did not mince words. He did not sugar coat the gospel or its expectations. He let it be known up front, a logic far removed from some of the easy-believism mentality of today, following him would cost a person something; in fact, it would cost a person all.
Christ taught us, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me. This is the call and cost of discipleship and nothing less. No frills, no fanfare, just an honest portrayl of a life committed to the One who would commit himself completely to us.
So, what then must we do? We must condemn our flesh to the cross; that apparatus of torture and death. We must do this not once, or even occasionally, but daily. Know that your flesh will not go willing to its Golgotha. It must be beaten and dragged and tossed upon the rocky hill. It must be held down agaisnt the rough timber and nailed. Know too, it will kick and scream and wail and writhe to come down from its gallows. But, be assured, the nails will hold, not in anger or wrath, for Christ has borne that for you already, but in grace and love.
Paul taught us, So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Rom. 8:5, ESV)
The Puritan Thomas Watson said it like this in his work, The Christian Soldier,
the flesh is a bosom traitor; it is like the Trojan horse within the walls which doth all the mischief. The flesh is a sly enemy; at first it is dulce venenum, afterwards scorpio pungens, it kills by embracing. The embraces of the flesh are like the ivy embracing the oak; which sucks out the strength of it for its own leaves and berries: So the flesh by its soft embraces, sucks out of the heart all good . . .