This morning I woke up with a question. A question I am sure many have asked. A question that should be asked by many Christians, what did Jesus mean when he said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”? As I laid in my bed I asked myself this question, “How do I do that?”. So, I prayed and asked God to give me an answer and he took me to Luke 9:23-25,
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”
But what does it all mean?
It means that God wants us to sacrifice daily. It means that God wants us to sacrifice our desires in order to gain his. It means that we have to give up what we want so that we can gain what he wants. It means that this life is no longer ours but his. It means that our plans are no longer ours but his plans. It means so much more than going to church on Sundays. It means it is a daily sacrifice, a daily battle, a war that is won with sacrifice. It’s time to stop telling God what we want and start asking God what he wants. It is easy, to let the world take over our desires but we have to choose to deny our fleshly desires and take on the desires of God. Daily we must ask God to take control of our lives so that he can be glorified through our lives. The Scripture says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20, ESV).
So, How do I do it?
It’s simple, it is a daily choice.
We must choose to no longer live our own lives but to live a life that God has called us to live. We have to make a daily choice not to choose but to let God choose for us. To carry your cross means to carry opposition, humiliation, slander/shame, persecution, pain, and suffering. You see the cross has two different and totally opposite meanings. One meaning is pain, humiliation and suffer; the other, the representation of the greatest gift given to mankind, eternal love and salvation. To take up your cross means that you will face hardships, pain, opposition, and hate. It means that life at times will be difficult and troubling at times. The bible states, “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Mat. 10:22, ESV) But the bible also says, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” (Mat. 19:26, ESV). See, God knew this life would not be easy, he knew how difficult it would be for us to take up our cross to follow him. Yet, with him, we know that even though it is impossible for us, it is not impossible for God.
To carry the cross is to lose the world, but to gain the world is to lose your soul. Meaning we have to rid ourselves of our fleshly desires and gain the desires of God. I once read, “suppose you could stockpile all the gold and silver in the whole world, could own all the real estate and property, all the stocks and bonds – everything of material value – and suppose that in your frantic effort to acquire all this you missed the true purpose of life, what good would it do you? You would have it for only a short while; then you would leave it forever. It would be an insane bargain to sell that one short life for a few toys of dust.”
I challenge you today to ask yourself, “Have I taken up my cross today?”