Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 28 : Deny Yourself | Day 192

Take Up Your Cross Daily!

In our day, the cross is very popular, even among non-Christians. It is worn on necklaces or in other ways as a charm or symbol of salvation. However, in the days of Jesus, even the thought of a cross was immediately repugnant and terrifying. It was the most dreadful and agonizing form of execution used by the Roman Empire. The phrase "take up your cross" referred to the Roman custom of requiring the condemned criminal to carry the cross on which he was to suffer and die.

"Taking up your cross" involves cheerful submission to the trials and afflictions that God allows in the course of following Him.

There are great benefits for those who take up their cross and follow Jesus:

  • Victory over temptation to sin: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin" (I Peter 4:1).
  • Intimate fellowship with Christ: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10).
  • Fulfilling God's purpose for your life: “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (I Peter 2:20-21).

Cross-bearing flows out of love for Christ and involves doing whatever is necessary to accomplish God's will.

What does it mean to take up your cross daily?

  • It means ceasing to make independent, selfish decisions and beginning to fully follow God's will.
  • It means going beyond short-term commitments to total surrender to God.
  • It means not focusing on personal pleasures but instead living for God.
  • It means patiently enduring ridicule because of a glorious goal to achieve.
  • It means evaluating every word and deed based on how they show God's love.
  • It means forsaking the distraction of worldly things and activities.

How will you recognize your cross? Usually it comes in the form of God-given responsibilities and includes whatever pain, sacrifice, and effort must be expended to carry out those responsibilities for the sake of Christ. Your cross may consist of the very things that you have been complaining about and asking God to remove. This was true in Paul's case. After three petitions for deliverance from his thorn in the flesh, God revealed to Paul that this was his "cross to bear." Thereafter Paul gloried in his infirmities, and the burden of them was transformed into a blessing and a channel of God's power. (See II Corinthians 12:7-10.)

Taking up your cross will require daily actions, but these should be a natural outgrowth of the unconditional surrender to God that you have already made. At any point Jesus could have dropped His cross and gone His own way. What a tragic loss that would have been for the world and for each of us! Let's purpose to take up our cross today and every new day God entrusts to us.

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard