ODJ: carrying your cross

April 19, 2014 

READ: Luke 9:23-26 

If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily and follow me (v.23).

My wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October 2012. I shared with a friend about the challenges this situation had posed for me. As we talked, he gently told me that this is the cross I have to carry. “Carrying your cross” means living with sickness or a child with a disability, or financial problems or any difficult circumstance of life. But when Jesus tells us to carry our own crosses, is He referring to life’s burdens?

Jesus laid down three conditions for discipleship: “You must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). A believer in Jesus “must turn from [his] selfish ways” or “must deny himself” (NIV), saying no to self-will, self-centredness, self-interest, self-sufficiency, self-dependence, self-ambition and self-exaltation. To deny yourself is to die to self.

The cross was an instrument of death. A condemned man carrying his cross towards his execution lost interest in the things of this world. To “take up your cross daily” is to die to sin. It’s a call to reprioritise your life.

There’s also a personal aspect to the demand: “Follow me.” Jesus told us to obey His commands, but He also said to follow Him. Following Jesus means walking closely after Him, going where He goes, doing what He does. It means making His will your will, not creating your own path, but putting your feet into the footprints of Jesus. And His footprints will lead you up Calvary’s hill.

You may profess to be a Christian, but if you don’t carry your own cross and follow Jesus, you’re not His disciple (14:27). A believer in Jesus must reject self, die to sin and pursue the Saviour! —K.T. Sim

365-day plan› 1 Kings 18:16-46

Read Luke 9:57-62, 14:25-27 to see what else Jesus said about following Him. 
How closely are you following Jesus? What must you do to follow Him better?