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Take Up Your Cross

Posted: January 26, 2017

“A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.”
- Luke 14:25-27 NLT

As you read this passage, take a moment and reflect on what Jesus was saying. Not what he literally said, but what he meant.

What does he mean when he says you must “hate your father, mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes even your own life?” It certainly does not mean that this gives you an excuse to hate your family, no matter how crazy they are! But it does mean that Jesus must be first in your life, and that you must love him more than anything else in this world, more than your family, your friends, your job, and even more than your own life. It means you must be so devoted to Him that, by comparison, nothing else in this world matters except for Christ.

What did he mean when he said you must “carry your own cross and follow me?” It doesn’t mean you must don a piece of cross jewelry or you are not a legitimate Christian. But it does mean that you must carry the same burdens as Christ, which may mean suffering on earth for His sake, giving all your belongings to the poor, becoming a missionary, or whatever else He calls you to do. It means you must pour out your life in devotion to His purposes, the same way Christ poured out his life on the cross as a sacrifice to save us from our sins.

In doing so, we become true disciples, seeking Christ first and imitating him in all we do.

Lord, I want to be a disciple of Christ. Help me to keep you first in my life, and to carry your burdens during my time on this earth, sacrificing my own comfort to do whatever you are calling me to do. In Jesus’ name, amen.