“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Lk 9:23)
This statement should feel daunting to any believer.
We must deny ourselves or, like Paul said, die to ourselves. That requires that we die to our attachment to this world and only cling to the next. As part of that process, we are called to take up our cross. Not just once, but daily. Daily, until we die.
That sounds like the long and narrow road, doesn’t it?
If we are to do as Jesus says, and take up our cross daily and follow him, then what is your cross?
For me, my cross has been Crohns disease. I was diagnosed with it 24 years ago. Like any cross, I have loathed its effect on my life while, at the same time, found its eventual consequence divinely inspired. God has used my cross to redirect my path, to rip away my attachments to this world from my life.
At times, my cross has taken away my goals, my dreams, my looks, my happiness and my self worth. But, those goals were earthly goals, those dreams were for my glory, my looks were for my vanity, my happiness was based on material substance and my self worth was based on pride.
As with each step of Jesus’ carrying his cross toward Golgatha, each day carrying our cross brings us closer to Heaven.
- My goals have moved from this life to my next one.
- My dreams are now focused on God’s glory and not my own.
- The multiple scars on my body from multiple surgeries have replaced vanity with humility.
- My happiness is derived from my family and my faith.
- And my self worth is based on God’s value of my life, not the world’s.
Life does not shield us from trouble or heartbreak or suffering. Life INCLUDES all of those things, along with joy and love.
When God offers you a cross, take it up, offer it up and start your journey to Golgatha. Then, one day, we can be like the thief on the cross next to Jesus, and be with Christ in paradise.