We observed in Mark 8, that to embrace the cross, you must deny yourself and follow Christ, lose your life for Christ's sake, prioritize peoples' souls over worldly gain and not be ashamed of Christ and the gospel. The next chapter in Mark 9 explains steps on how to embrace the cross as you become salt in influencing the culture.
Perspective: See Christ and Nothing Else
After Jesus took Peter, James and John up the mountain, He was transfigured before them. His garments became exceedingly white and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!" They saw no one except Jesus alone. He told them that "He should suffer many things and be treated with contempt" (Mark 9:1-13).
Faith: All Things Possible Through Prayer
The disciples were unable to cast out a spirit in a boy who was mute, which dashed him to the ground making him foam at the mouth, grind his teeth and become stiff. Jesus said all things are possible to him who believes. He rebuked the deaf and dumb spirit and commanded it to come out of the boy and not enter him again. Jesus told the disciples that this spirit "cannot come out by anything but prayer" (Mark 9:14-29)
Lifestyle: Be Servant of All, Especially to the Least
Jesus taught His disciples that He would be killed and rise three days later. The disciples kept silent instead of answering Him since they were discussing among themselves which was the greatest. Jesus said the pathway to being first was serving all. He illustrated servanthood by saying that "whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me" (Mark 9:30-37).
Commitment: Preserve Unity in Body of Christ
The disciples tried to hinder someone casting out demons in Christ's name because he wasn't following them. Jesus said that "he who is not against us is for us." Anyone who causes a little one to stumble should have a "heavy millstone hung around his neck and cast into the sea." Jesus' concern for unity in the body of Christ led Him to say that "if your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire." Maintaining peace with one another preserves unity in the body of Christ so you can be salt in the culture (Mark 9:38-50).
Evaluate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being lowest and and 10 highest on the following items):
1. Perspective: Seeing Christ and Nothing Else
2. Faith: All Things Possible Through Prayer
3. Lifestyle: Be Servant of All, Especially to the Least
4. Commitment: Preserve Unity in Body of Christ
Use strength in your highest rated category to help build into your lowest rated one. In this new year, ask God through the power of the Holy Spirit to transform your perspective, faith, lifestyle and commitment in being salt in your world.