what does it mean to take up your cross daily
“Then Jesus said to disciples, ‘whoever wants to be my disciples must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
I was thinking about this as it came into thought today. Jesus Christ said that if anyone desires to be His disciples, they must deny themselves and take up their cross. What does it mean to be His disciple? What does it mean to deny yourself?
Let’s look into the definition of the disciple:
- When you are a disciple of Christ, you believe in His commands.
- You imitate His example (for example, He came to serve; therefore, we should also live to serve).
- You accept His TRUTH.
And the TRUTH is that He did whatever GOD told Him, in LOVE, which we should also do.
So then, what does it mean to deny yourself? According to the scriptures, you no longer live for yourself when you deny yourself (Galatians 2:20). You now live for Jesus Christ because you are now His disciple. You are on the journey of what it means to be like HIM, as He walked on earth-loving, serving, healing, speaking truth, and preaching, all for the glory of the Abba Father.
So when I considered this verse, I thought about what it means to deny ourselves and take up our cross. Since the answers are already in the scripture, why not write them?
So let’s get started.
Relinquish Your Selfish Desire
Relinquish means to voluntarily cease to keep or give up. Give up what exactly? Anything that resonates with the flesh (Romans 8:13). They are actions that lead you to consider only yourself. Ponder and consider anything that hinders you from living like Christ.
When following Jesus, the flesh (its desires) cannot play a part in it. It will only distract you from truly living like Jesus Christ. In Matthew 16:25b, Jesus says, “whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Christ came into this earth to die for us, our sins, because of His great love and self-sacrifice (John 15:13).
Our sins, which are acted by our flesh, should be put to death daily to live in the Spirit of GOD, just as Christ walked in the Spirit of GOD. To be a follower of Christ means losing our life and renewing our mind, which leads me to the next section.
Renewing Your Mind
Being a follower of Christ means to also renew your mind. We all have grown up with different backgrounds, values, and beliefs. Therefore, our beliefs, which we have retained from our family and our environment, have followed us (or we have followed it) unto where we are now.
But because we are Christians, followers of Christ, and children of GOD, we cannot conform any longer to the patterns of this world, especially when most of our actions do not portray godly character. So even what we may have been brought up to be may not align with GOD’s LOVE and TRUTH.
We need to be transformed by renewing our mind through the wisdom and revelation of the scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit of GOD. This will help us understand the perfect, good, and acceptable will He desires for us. (Romans 12:2). I believe the Bible has all the answers to our daily problems; we just need the Holy Spirit to reveal and lead us into all truths (Hebrews 11:1, John 16:13; James 1:5).
His Words Is Our Guide
I am not saying that GOD only speaks through His WORD, but that is the primary way, amongst other forms. What I am saying is that GOD’s WORD reveals truths in such ways I never experienced before.
For example, I thought the Bible was a story and commandments we were supposed to follow. But boy, was I wrong. And I am thankful that I was wrong, to be honest. I would not have known how to honestly read and meditate on the WORD of the TRUTH.
There were verses that I did not understand but with devotion, speaking to the LORD GOD, and the Holy Spirit of GOD guiding me, some verses made me say wow! And I am still surprised! GOD is amazing!
So to be a follower of Christ, renewing your mind by letting go of old beliefs is vital so that you may now know how to live for GOD in Christ in LOVE (Deuteronomy 6:5; Ephesians 5:1-2). The transformation of the renewing of your mind also helps you understand the immeasurable amount of Love God has for you. When you let go of yourself and embrace the love of GOD, you can’t go back.
Test Your Faith
As disciples of Christ, we will need to take our cross every day. Meaning putting to death the flesh every day and enduring all trials that test our faith (James 1:2-4). Jesus said that we will have tribulations, but He has overcome the world. How? By focusing on God and doing His work. Obviously, we cannot ignore our trials and tribulations, but that does not mean we should let it rule over us.
Because this is a testing of our faith, our primary weapons are in the WORD, and there is so much of them. Such as the armor of GOD (Ephesians 6:11-18), no weapon formed against you shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17), Jesus Christ has given you authority to trample over snakes and scorpions and overcome all powers of the enemy (Luke 10:19).
Another one, demolish every argument and pretensions that set itself up against the knowledge of GOD and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2nd Corinthians 10:5). These are a few, but by faith, GOD will back you up when you speak these into existence.
Remember, as disciples of Christ, we are not doing this alone; Christ lives within us. Therefore, He is continuously perfecting our faith (Galatians 2:20, Hebrews 12:2).
Speaking Life Over Death
Our words matter. Particularly the words we say about ourselves and others matter, especially when GOD hears them. As disciples of Christ and children of GOD, we are meant to walk and speak in love. Two particular verses come to mind: Proverbs 16:24 and Proverbs 18:21.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” Proverbs 18:21 AMP
“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweet and delightful to the soul and healing to the body.” Proverbs 16:24 AMP
In my personal journey, the verse helped me speak kindly to myself since I had a difficult time, but thanks be to God, He comforted me. This verse also helped me speak kindly of others, young and old, praying blessings over them.
Like the first, the second verse simply says that whatever you say will affect you and your environment, whether good or bad. So if you speak negatively to yourself and your environment, you are inviting negativity to your life. But if you are speaking positive, life-giving words, you are inviting life into you and your environment.
The Bible has many life-giving words that you can speak over your life today, such as “my God will supply my needs according to to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19). That is life because I desire my life to be supplied with needs, and God is providing it. Therefore, I need not say or think things that cause me to worry.
There isn’t anywhere in the Four Gospels where Jesus complained nor spoke negatively towards himself or others. So as a discipline of Christ, our mission should be to always vocalize life, encouraging words.
Walking In LOVE
Abide in these; faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is LOVE (1st Corinthians 13:13). LOVE is the ultimate way to live for GOD and serve others. Even Jesus Christ mentioned that loving GOD and loving others depends on these two commandments (Matthew 22:36-40).
In all honesty, it is something we may all struggle with, but let’s all remember that GOD’s LOVE is abounding, full of mercy and compassion. It is patient, kind, not envious, and seeks the good of others (1st Corinthians 13: 4-7). Therefore, if we know that GOD’s love for us never ends, let us show this to others as well.
As disciples, Jesus Christ mentioned that even we should love one another unselfishly (John 15:17).
Submitting To GOD
As a disciple of Christ, submitting to the things of God is essential. Submitting to God is essential. As Jesus said, His food was to do the works of His Father and bring in the harvest. Throughout his ministry, we could see that His mission, walk, and talk was due to the LOVE He had for Abba Father GOD. Everything He did on earth was for the glory of the Father.
As disciples of Christ, we are intended to live this way as well. And as we continue to walk this way, the LOVE of GOD will indeed be evident in our lives that obeying Him is not difficult, as long as we put to death our flesh and forsake our selfish desires, for both are hostile to GOD. Remember, the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).
Therefore, we must take authority over our body and make it submit to the Holy Spirit of GOD so that we continue to worship Abba Father God in Spirit and in TRUTH.
So how do you deny yourself and take up your cross as Christ Jesus did? This post is also for me, you know. In this journey, I’ve experienced things and currently unlearning things. Still, I am have been reminded to be strong in the LORD and His mighty power (Ephesians 6:10).
Also, I’ve been reminded to let the WORD of GOD dare not depart from my life because it is my food. I need to no longer be conformed to the ways of this world that corrupt my flesh but by being transformed to know the TRUE LOVE and will of GOD and the LORD Jesus.