Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Take Up Thy Cross and Follow Me

On three different occasions Jesus tells His disciples to take up the Cross. There are six elements in the declaration that Jesus makes to His disciples:

1. “If anyone would come after Me…
2. “let him deny himself…
3. “and take up his Cross…
4. “and follow Me.
5. “For whoever would save his life will lose it,
6. “but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”

Jesus calls his believers to follow Him. This is implied in the name “follower.” Yet, the average so-called believer today has understandable problems with this command from Jesus. You have many people, who call themselves Christians, who do not follow Jesus Christ. It is a popular fad to wear ‘the Cross’ as a pendant, but to live what the Cross represents is a total different matter. They look on the Cross as a symbol of love and of peace Indeed, love and peace are to be found at the Cross, but only through the horrific death by Jesus on the Cross. Jesus is the Savior of the world only in the sense that the world has but one, true Savior – Jesus Christ!

To be a true follower of Jesus, a man has to deal with the Cross of Jesus. What do I mean by that? The answer is found in the words “let him deny himself.” To deny oneself is to disown oneself, to repudiate oneself. In other words, you must refuse claim to yourself – “I did it my way” goes out the window! Of course, this flies in the face of what the world teaches man today. It is a “me-ism” society in which we live; me, myself, and I rule the heart. Caring for others is a distant second to loving oneself – loving Christ is out of the picture.

But that is just what Jesus demands: you must disown yourself, your feelings, and your will. How is that possible? Jesus said, “…and take up his Cross.” Each person has his/her own cross to bear for Christ’s sake. It’s one thing to look at Jesus on His Cross, it’s quite another thing to look at our own cross and hear Jesus say: “take it up.” And when you look closer at the statement, you will realize that it is a command. Jesus is commanding us to take up our Cross and follow Him. Unless we place our will on the Cross, we cannot be a disciple of Jesus. Unless we place self on the Cross, we cannot be His disciple. It is as simple as that.

To be a Christian is to live for Christ, not for self. To truly be Christian is to disown self, take up the Cross of self-denial, and follow after your new Master – Jesus Christ! By losing self, you gain your soul. To those who are destroying themselves, this is folly; but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God working within them. If you do not deny yourself, take up your Cross and follow Jesus, then you are not His child.

To whom do you belong?

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