Luke 9:23, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me”
Receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is the first step to salvation and gateway to God’s kingdom and to the blessings promised in His Word, the Bible. Above and beyond that, Christians are called to a daily walk with Jesus in order for them to receive the abundant life Jesus came to give(John 10:10), live victorious life, do the will of God here on earth and finally, reach heaven, where we shall live in glory with Jesus forever.
The verse above is very clear about the terms and conditions required to following Jesus. Jesus himself gave these terms. He never modified them or relaxed them later on. The church, religion, society or you might have tried to re state the demands in lesser demanding ways, to accommodate our sinful desires, willful disobedience to God’s truth. Good and easy as our own ways for following Christ may sound, they will never earn us heaven, and we can never experience true Christian life and walk the way Jesus intended for us.
Receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior demands not only believing the truth of the gospel, but also committing ourselves to sacrificially follow him. The choice to follow Him in His ways is ours to make, daily. It is not an occasional, or Sunday morning choice. It is not a choice we are expected to make when it is easier or convenient or when we don’t feel embarrassed, or intimidated by the presences of some people. The choice is personal and is made daily, decisively, consciously, prayerfully and faithfully commit yourself to fulfilling the obligation without anyone supervising or pushing you to do so. Your pusher and supervisor is the Lord Jesus, through his Holy Spirit dwelling in you. Without the Holy Spirit presence and working in you, you or anyone else cannot follow Jesus. All Christians must depend on Him, daily, for strength, wisdom and power to follow Him.
Do you take up your cross daily and follow him? Take up His cross. The cross of Christ is a symbol of suffering and unselfishness (1Peter 2:21; 4:31), death (Acts 10:39), shame (Hebrews 12:2), ridicule (Matthew 27:39), rejection (1Peter. 2:4), and self-denial (Matthew 16:24).
When we believers take up our cross and follow Christ, we deny our own selves and commit ourselves to three areas of suffering:
1. We suffer a lifelong battle against sin by crucifying our own fleshly desires. You may not like sin, but sin likes you. Sin will follow you daily if you don’t carry your cross and follow Jesus daily.
2. We suffer in a war against Satan and the powers of darkness as we advance the kingdom of God. We experience rejection and face hostilities and obstacles along the way. We contend with false teachings and doctrines of demons, men and religion.
3. We suffer the reproach, hatred and ridicule of the world by testifying in love that its deeds are evil, by separating ourselves from it both morally and spiritually, and by refusing to accept its standards or philosophy as our own (1Corinthians1:21-27).
To avoid becoming a victim of Satan’s deceit and discouragement, make your lifetime profession to do three things as commanded by Christ: deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Jesus daily. There is no short cut! There is no other alternative. The terms are clearly set. If you follow, you will be blessed and you will see God. Let us walk today with Christ of the cross as we carry the cross of Christ! God bless you. Brother Boaz Olang