What Does it Mean to Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus?

Jesus said,

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 2Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Luke 9:23-26

What does it mean to take up your cross daily?

First we see Jesus makes discipleship contingent upon this, “whoever wants to be my disciple mus…” Since discipleship is following Jesus we have discipleship reiterated at the end of the statement when Jesus said “and follow me.”

Taking up a cross is clearly the activity of the disciple.

Jesus specifies how often – daily.

He also specifies that taking up your cross every day is something that is connected with denying yourself.

I had a friend who passed a few years ago named David. He was a genius and a Bible scholar who also happened to be quadriplegic. As I type this I miss him so much even thinking back to the conversations we used to have.There were Sundays he would speak at the communion table. David would drive up to the front in his wheel chair and teach us. He would share some words that still touch my heart to this day.

One Sunday he talked about his disability and said “this is not my cross to bear.” He went on to say that cross bearing is a choice. It is something we do not something done to us. He was addressing the saying we sometimes hear when someone goes through a hard time and someone says, “That is their cross to bear.” David rejected that notion entirely from his wheelchair.

I agree with David.

That means cross-bearing isn’t some bad situation you have been through in your life or some limitation. It isn’t something done to you. It is something you do yourself out of a choice to follow Jesus which requires self-denial.

“Take up your cross” not “have a cross placed upon you.”

Cross bearing is purposeful. Intentional. It requires a denial of self and a willful following of the Savior. It is also requires regularity which requires discipline.

Let me ask you this, how is your cross bearing going? One way to answer that question is to answer this question – how well are you denying yourself of the things that would compromise your walk with Jesus? How is this going *daily*?

If you are struggling to do that Jesus can show you how. Not only will he show you, I believe he will help you,

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Not only will Jesus help you. We can help each other,

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2

In context it is talking about sin, not cross bearing. But I think the principle that discipleship is done in community and doing it together can lighten the load as we encourage one another and spur each other on toward love and good deeds. (Heb 10:24)

If you are struggling to follow Jesus, ask Jesus for help and seek out help from another Christian. Blessings.

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