Last Sunday we talked about the call to follow Jesus and what that looks like in our lives. It was very impactful for me as I began thinking about what I am supposed to deny myself of in order to pick up my cross and follow Jesus better. I hope it was eye-opening for you too. If we’ve been a believer for a long time, we have no doubt heard many messages pertaining to this topic. It is a good thing too, because we are constantly bombarded with commercials and news stories that tell us what we need to possess or do to have the best life possible. For the Christian, the best life possible is found with Jesus, not apart from Him. That means that how He defines following Him supersedes any speculative thought we may have concerning its practicality.
It’s a daily thing
There’s another passage about taking up our cross and following Jesus that expands on this.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
It says in Luke 9:23 that we are to take up our cross “daily” to follow Jesus. Taking up our cross is not a “one and done” type of thing. It’s daily. In essence, following Jesus is a commitment that requires daily renewal. Our adversary will introduce many opportunities that could lead us away from Christ, and most of those opportunities promise some type of pleasure or fulfillment that does not require God’s presence. Those are the things that we must deny ourselves. We must realize that the presence of God is what makes taking up our cross worth the daily struggle. This is what it looks like to follow Jesus: we follow Him to the death of ourselves to find the life He gives (Gal. 2:20). The presence of God is found in that life, and that is where I want to be.
Let’s be thinking about this today as we follow Jesus. How are you purposefully denying yourself in order to pick up the cross Jesus requires? What does that look like for you and for the church? I’d love to hear your thoughts!