Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Following Jesus is not a nice Christian hobby.
Following Jesus is not a checklist of duties.
Following Jesus is not mindless religious rituals.
Following Jesus is all in!
We must deny ourselves.
We must live for Jesus.
We must choose His way over ours.
We must choose His instruction over our desires.
We must lay down our plans.
We must take up our cross.
Carrying the cross through the heart of the city was meant to demonstrate that the Roman Empire was right. Jesus turns that negative acknowledgement into a public profession. When we “take up our cross,” we tell the world that Jesus is right, and that we follow Him even to death.
Carrying the cross was a one-way journey. The cross-bearer would not return. Carrying our cross, then, is a vivid picture that we are on a one-way journey with Jesus. We will not return to the old life. We will not gain the world and lose our soul.
Lord Jesus, You ask me to do for You what You have already done for me. Thank You for denying Yourself by becoming a man and being obedient—even to death on the cross. Thank You for literally carrying the cross for me all the way to Your sacrificial death. Help me respond in sincere love and appreciation for all You have done. Help me follow hard after You. Amen.
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