In the New Testament, Jesus tells His disciples to take up their cross and follow Him. I was always bothered with this passage, because it implied I should drag the instrument of my own death around with me, just waiting to die. It is like He is saying “Take up your cross and FOLLOW ME TO YOUR DEATH – A HORRIBLE DEATH OF CRUCIFIXION”. Jesus could have said: “Take along your family, or bring your luggage, but He said “TAKE UP YOUR CROSS and follow Me.” My first inclination is to say “Thanks Jesus, but I will just wait a while longer and die of natural causes.”
Other than Jesus telling us to do so, why in the world would anyone want to do this? The obvious answer is that NO ONE IN THE WORLD (the flesh) would willingly do this.
But we are not of this world. We are called out of the Kingdom of Man, and we have to die to this world – our flesh – to join Jesus in the Kingdom of God. Here is the passage: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Luke 9:23
Jesus is telling us we must take up our cross DAILY, repenting of our sins, forgiving others, surrendering to the Lord, and seeking His will through the Holy Spirit. Only then can we enjoy the abundant life and the fruit of the Spirit – love, peace, kindness, and the joy of the Lord. And only then will we have something really valuable – the love and truth of Christ – to share with others.
The Spirit-filled life is sometimes scary, but it is also the most exciting thing in the world; nothing else comes even close. It is like wiring a house with the electricity on – every now and then you get a shot of juice.
Jesus is calling each of us to die to self and follow Him into the Kingdom of God. Will you take the call, pick up your cross, and follow Him?
To God be the Glory
Board of Evangelism