“Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” -Luke 9:23

“Yes, I will follow Jesus!” We’ll gladly follow the Lord around the Sea of Galilee and be fed with the five thousand. We will drink wine made from water. We will applaud the blind man who can see and stand amazed at a dead man who rises from his grave. We will follow Jesus everywhere except… the cross.

Oh, we can handle the burdens, those everyday troubles we all must shoulder. Besides, there are always others to carry our burdens. We can accept the thorns, those inconveniences that can’t be avoided. It’s best to accept thorns and get on with living.

But a cross? No, it is not our inclination to take up a cross. For unlike burdens or thorns from which we can’t escape, a cross is a choice. In fact, the cross was a choice for Jesus—He did not have to take it up, He could have refused it. But thankfully, He willingly took up His cross so that you and I might have power. Power to carry one another’s burdens, gladly accept our thorns, and daily take up our cross and follow Jesus.

To take up your cross involves a daily choice. Perhaps your cross could be a difficult duty, a painful service, an unbelieving partner in marriage. The Lord is asking you to willingly take it on and head up the long path with Him to Calvary where pride and vanity, stubbornness and resentment are crucified.

First, I want to thank You Lord Jesus for willingly taking up Your cross in obedience to the Father. You could have refused it, but You didn’t! Thank You for the power released through Your obedience, power that enables me to take up my cross today and follow You.