I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: what it really means to “take up your cross daily” or to “deny yourself.”
These are some powerful phrases that we, as Christians, don’t seem to take as seriously as we should. We bring them out for the big decisions that we face in our lives, but we don’t use them on a daily, moment-to-moment basis… you know what I mean?
The Sunday School class I’m in right now is doing a video series called “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman, (highly recommend for small groups!!) and this past week, he brought up this point:
Think about it. Back then, the cross was a symbol of absolute torture and humiliation. It was used as the ultimate punishment for crimes. Those that hung on the crosses weren’t exactly popular with the majority of the crowd.
Now, these days, people can be seen wearing crosses on a necklace, rings, earrings, tattoos, clothing and more.. but do they recognize the full meaning behind it and what it really represents? I kinda doubt it.
Becoming a Christian is so much more than obtaining a free pass to the golden gates of heaven and escaping eternal punishment in hell… it’s all about completely stripping you of your old identity and filling it with that of Christ…
… and being willing to follow Him wherever He may lead us.
I’ve struggled with this because I enjoy my comfort zone. I like where I live, the friends that I have and my routine that I follow week to week (with little bursts of spontaneity here and there).
We can get so comfortable with the idea of Christ being our Savior that we lose the mind-blowing realization of what He’s actually done for us on that cross… that He took all of our sin upon Himself and paid the price that was meant for us!
So, what does it mean to “deny yourself” and “take up your cross daily”?
That’s it. We are called to be different and separate from the rest of the world; to not care about what the world thinks of us and to live our daily lives for Christ, spilling His love for others into everything we do, say or even think.
We are called to die to ourselves (sinful nature), take up our crosses and follow His lead.
It could be as simple as lending a helping hand when no one else will. Or choosing to step out of the gossip circle even though that’s where all your friends are. Or maybe even as big as going on a missions trip to a different country to present the gospel to those who haven’t heard it yet.
Yes, carrying a cross will not be comfortable; Jesus never promised it would be. But, when the burden gets too much for us to handle… He does promise this: