Activate: “Then He said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’” Luke 9:23
Elevate: When you hear the word “sacrifice” what do you think of?
Not buying those brand new BCBG shoes that are over your budget, and instead saving your money for groceries? Chopping your 15 inches of hair off and giving them to Locks of Love? Do you think of a soldier at war, or his family who is sacrificing their loved one for our freedom? Do you think of Paul the Apostle who gave his whole life to plant and cultivate churches, and spread the Gospel to the world? Do you think of our Savior, Jesus?
When we think of sacrifice, we normally think of something that we don’t want to do (…duh). It comes in many different shapes and forms, yet we are all called to take up our cross. So what’s the benefit in sacrificing? Jesus said to take up our crosses and FOLLOW Him. Let’s define what He is talking about.
- Take up your cross: Sacrifice what you think your individual desires, wants, and aspirations are.
- Daily: Easy answer… Every day. Not so easy answer… Every day.
- Follow Me: What are you sacrificing for? To Follow Him.
Although all of these definitions have easy answers, the application tends to trip us up. To ask someone to give up a dream that they have, or on the other hand, to ask someone to start working towards a dream that they have seems absurd and intimidating. However, it’s the seemingly absurd and intimidating in our lives that excites God. It’s His turn to show us how He can work. When Jesus asks us to take up our cross and follow Him, it’s for our benefit. How else can we get everything He wants to give, and then appreciate it? Look at it like this: whenever you buy a car with your OWN money, or purchase that new purse you have been saving up for, you appreciate it more than if it was just given to you. Jesus died on the cross that we have to take up. We will never learn to appreciate that gift if we do not sacrifice to Follow Him. So as followers of Jesus, taking up our cross is more of a privilege than it is a burden. What a blessing.
Cultivate: Take a moment today to make a list of the top 3 things you want to have and aspire to be in order from what you want the most to the least. Ask yourself if you would be willing pursue those things or put those things on hold if God asked you to do either one. This should give you your answer to the question, “Are you are taking up your cross daily to follow Me?”