What does it mean to “take up your cross?”
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
For the disciples. the cross was not a necklace. It was not an ornament. It was not even a symbol. It was a lifestyle. It was the willingness to follow Jesus in every thing and in every area of their lives.
For us to do that, we must surrender our lives completely to Christ. We must set aside our desires and put others first. It means getting rid of selfishness.
We must have complete faith in Christ and loyalty to Him – no matter what it costs us.
“taking up our cross” is a total buy-in to the lifestyle and way of Jesus. It is making our character match the character of Jesus. It is considering what He would do in every situation. It is being completely “sold out” to Christ.
When Jesus used the phrase “pick up your cross”, he was letting us know that following him won’t be easy. There will be times that you are going to want to quit, deny him, run away, etc… There are going to be times in your life when not following Him would be much easier.
Day by day, moment by moment, make a consistent, constant choice to follow Him. Cutting corners, little white lies, “going with the flow” are simply not acceptable.
God calls us to a life of obedience and self-sacrifice but the rewards will be great.