Take Up Your Cross

( Taken from the message, "Being a Christ Follower." This devotion focuses on step-2 of the three steps found in this verse.)

Mark 8:34 (NLT) 34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, [Jesus] said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.

You MUST take up your cross.

What does this mean? Well, it's not, “This difficulty is my cross to bear.”  To the first Disciples, the cross meant only one thing. It was the most humiliating and horrific form of death the Romans could come up with, and here Jesus says ". . . if you want to be my follower, then you must take up your cross."  To be “carrying your own cross” meant you were a dead man walking. The Disciples would’ve known exactly what this meant. They did not confuse the cross with a piece of jewelry. They knew full well what it meant for someone to take up their own cross. It meant a humbling, suffering death.

For most of us, “taking up our cross” will probably not mean physical death on a physical cross. So, how does this apply to us?

The first step in becoming a Christ-follower (earlier in the message) was, "you must give up your own way." And this second step goes with the first; you must crucify self. Something has to die; it’s the only purpose for the cross. When we truly commit to becoming a Christ-follower, we must be ready for a humbling, suffering death of our self-centered life and our pride. The application of this statement has to be death to self, to our self-nature. I am convinced it would be easier to die physically. The humbling, suffering death of our self-centered life and our pride is often far uglier than our physical death would be. And, in Luke 9:23 it says we must do this daily.

Once we give up our own way (step 1), then we can move to crucify self (step 2). Do you get the idea that self is in the way of being a Christ-follower?

How does this truth specifically apply to your life? Is it an action, an attitude, or a direction in your life? Tell God how this truth applies to your life.

Then, how will you respond to this truth and your time with God today? Be as specific as possible with your response.

God's grace is sufficient for you. And his unfailing love and mercy are just that, unfailing. God's power in you (the same power that rose Jesus from the dead) will transform your life, IF you choose to walk in it daily, willingly rejecting, and even crucifying, self. Be strengthened and encouraged as you continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of your Lord, Jesus.

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