“Take up your cross, and follow Me.” This was the challenge issued by Jesus to those who would follow the road to the cross with Him. It is truly a road less traveled and by no means an easy one.
But this is a confusing thought for some. Many come to Jesus looking for “their best life” now… for the prize of a way to be successful… to become better people… and on and on the list can go.
Jesus calls us to die. To everything… as we follow Him to the cross. Our cross, of course, cannot redeem others or ourselves. The full purpose of the cross of Christ was to redeem others. The purpose of our cross is to die to ourself.
The most influential book I have ever encountered outside of the Bible itself is a book by German theologian (and martyr) Dietrich Bonhoeffer titled, “The Cost of Discipleship.” Among many memorable thoughts in his book is one that has been quoted by many, “When Jesus calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
This flies in the face of so much of what passes for preaching today. Jesus is not the key to a “better life now.” He is the pathway to the death of self… the crucifixion of the flesh.
When we follow Jesus, we embark on the road to the cross. Every day is a new crucifixion to something… some part of our flesh that needs to be continually killed.
It is not a journey completed in this life. Only our final death can accomplish this. But in the meantime, as Jesus calls us, we take up our cross DAILY, and follow Him.