Following Jesus is not for everyone. All are welcome, but few are willing to make the necessary sacrifice. Jesus carried a cross and all genuine Christ-followers must do the same.
Jesus said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23). What exactly is the cross?
- THE CROSS IS VOLUNTARY: The cross is not when something bad happens to you (sickness, unemployment, etc). The cross is when you choose of your own free will to die to something. There is nothing passive about the cross, it is an active choice.
- THE CROSS IS PERSONAL: Each disciple must take up "his cross." What God is asking of you and me is different. We each have our own struggles and temptations to moritify.
- THE CROSS IS DAILY: How much easier Christianity would be if we only had to die to self once; but, following Jesus is a daily, moment by moment reality. Jesus said we have to voluntarily take up our personal cross everyday and choose to follow Him. This is the way of the Christian.
The Apostle Paul taught these same truths in Romans 12:1. Our sacrifice to God is to be
PERSONAL: "I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God"
VOLUNTARY: "that you present your bodies"
DAILY: "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God."