Explain “Take Up His Cross and Follow Jesus?”
Mark 8:34 reads, “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus here bids all to follow Him but acknowledges there is a price to be paid. Because most are unwilling to pay the price they choose to follow their own way and be lost. “13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14).
“His cross” here is not the Lord’s cross, it is OUR OWN CROSS! It involves a denial of self. The most important thing in the world after becoming a Christ is no longer one’s self, but God’s will. We practice self-discipline. Romans 12:1-2 declares, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Included here are both inner and outer struggles pertaining to living the life of a christian. Whatever burdens, trials, or hardships come our way as a consequence of following Christ are to be patiently borne. II Timothy 3:12 tells us, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” When we endure whatever we endure whatever crosses we must bear, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10-12)
Christians do not look for hardships and tribulations in life, nor do they create them, but they patiently endure them when they come. Throughout all personal adversities they continue to live faithful unto the Lord (I Corinthians 15:58) and seek to please Him instead themselves. “ For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” (Romans 15:3).
There is much to do in God’s service and as a follower of Christ we are to take the initiative and go to work for the Lord. There will be some pain along the way, but the reward is out of this world! Won’t you take up your own cross today and follow Him? Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)