Taking Up My Cross

Luke 9:23 (NIV):  “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’”

There are many things that I do every day. I sleep, I eat, I talk, I read. These daily activities give me a rhythm. Having a rhythm in my life helps me to cope with the unexpected. You see, I find myself, probably like most people, trying to control what happens in my life. The more routines I have in my daily life, I guess the more I feel like I’m in control.

I also have daily disciplines to encourage my relationship with God. I read daily from scripture. I journal. I read a devotional thought. I also read from a book that takes stories from Kansas history and shares biblical truth. These daily activities are important to me. But to be honest, I think that I’m still just trying to be in control.

When I read the words of Jesus from the above verse I am completely challenged. I really want to be His disciple. The word at it’s root implies one who has disciplines in their life. Yet Jesus turns the idea of being in control of myself by having disciplines upside down. He says that I must deny myself and take up my cross daily and follow Him. But wait, He can’t really mean that, can He? That would mean that I am not in control of my life at all.

Yet, the verse is there. The words of Jesus are clear. He wants me to die to myself, and not just once, but daily. My daily discipline, that makes me a disciple, is denying myself any control and dying daily. Following Jesus means that I don’t know what will happen at any point in time. Following Jesus means that I am a dead man walking and that I have no rights to claim. Following Jesus means that I completely let go of anything other than Him.

Anyway you cut it, following Jesus is so much more than saying a prayer and thinking that I now have heaven to look forward to. The above verse makes my life a daily, constant, emptying of myself in order to allow Jesus to have His way, no matter what, no matter when.

Prayer: Lord, I want to be a follower of Jesus. Help me to let go and let You take me and use me in any way, at any time for Your purposes. I choose to deny myself today and seek to do so daily for the rest of my earthly life.

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