Take Up Your Cross
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Then He said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be My follower,
you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow Me."
- Luke 9:23
What does the cross really mean?
We wear it around our necks and we hang it in our homes. We put it at the pulpit of our churches and stand it next to graves. We pass it every day in some way.
But do we know what it really means? Or did we lose sight of it somewhere along the way?
Do we really understand the cost?
You see, the thing about the cross is that it costs something. It resembles sacrifice. It resembles pain and agony. It resembles a choice.
And if we really understand what that cost Jesus as He suffered agonizing pain and grief for us while we still had our backs to Him because He loved us that much, then we must also understand that to reach out and accept Him is going to cost us something too.
We like to think that following Jesus doesn’t really cost much. I can go to church on Sunday morning wearing my nicest clothes and happiest smile, and sometimes even show up for Bible study on Wednesday evening. I can pick up my Bible every now and then and smile as I claim that I follow Jesus.
But is that all there is to following Him?
In the verse above Jesus specifically says that if we want to follow Him then we must put aside what we want… and we must pick up a cross too.
We must sacrifice. We must let go. We must choose.
We must choose whether or not we are going to live as if the crosses we wear around our necks have as much space in our hearts as they do in our homes. We must choose whether or not we let the cross change us.
To follow Christ will require giving up things. It’ll require loss. It’ll require putting aside anything that gets in the way of me and Jesus. To follow Him means I will look so different from the world they’ll probably even hate me, and that could hurt. To follow Him means being totally different.
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”
- Revelation 3:15-16
This message from God to one of the seven churches in Revelation paints for us a vivid picture of what Christ really wants from us.
He doesn’t want half-in followers.
He doesn’t want people who wear the cross around their neck on Sunday and live as if He doesn’t exist on Thursday.
He doesn’t want someone who claims to love Him with their lips, but chooses other things before Him every time in their hearts.
Half-in Christianity isn’t true Christianity at all.
To follow Him—to pick up our cross every day like He did for us—is going to cost us.
And our choice to pick it up or walk past it every day is going to determine whether we’re hot or cold. All in, or only half in.
It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be free of pain. It’s not going to be something you feel like doing every day.
But it’s going to be worth it.
Following Jesus is going to be the best choice you ever made. Following Him, all in.
He’s worth it.
Will you pick up your cross and follow Him?
1. Do you want to know more about starting a relationship with God? Click HERE
2. What is something in your life holding you back from going all in for Christ?
3. Why do you think it’s hard for us to talk about what following Jesus actually looks like?
4. How can you pick up your cross today?
Dear God, thank You for the cross. Thank You for choosing the cross to die for me so that You would then raise to life and conquer death once and for all. Please give me the strength to choose You. To pick up my cross and follow You. You are worth it all to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.