When we read this verse today, we see the word ‘cross’ and think of a religious ornament placed on the wall or worn around the neck.
That’s not how the disciples pictured the cross.
To them, the cross was a horrific way to die.
No doubt the disciples were confused and greatly disturbed when they heard Jesus say these words.
Somehow they were supposed to die and yet follow Him.
And they had to do this daily…
Later the disciples learned that this death was death to self.
If we want to follow Jesus…we need to die to ourselves.
The reason we have to take up our cross daily is that our selfishness will never completely disappear until we pass through physical death into the next life.
Each day we will wake up and try to take back control of our lives. I love what John Eldredge says…”Each morning I wake up a pagan.”
This means that every day, we need to remind ourselves that we no longer belong to ourselves; we belong to Christ. To do that, we take up an instrument of death…the cross.
What does this look like practically?
In medicine it begins with attitude.
It is working within healthcare with an attitude that we are there to serve patients…not use them to fulfill our need to be valued or respected.
It is an attitude that values service and sacrifice over self and reputation.
Exactly how that plays out in our life is left to Him…because our final command is to follow His lead.
Faith is necessary to place ourselves in this position…faith that He will lead and guide us.
We grow in that faith by stepping out.
We step out when we begin to turn our lives over to Him and ask Him to lead…no matter what direction He seems to be taking us.
It is scary…but at the same time it brings peace as we learn we can trust Him.
Begin the journey today by releasing control to Him, dying to self, and following after Jesus.
Prayer: Lord help me have the necessary faith to release control of my life to You and follow wherever You lead!