Taking Up Our Cross Daily

In Luke 9:23 Jesus said:

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

Earlier at TNT we looked at Abraham and Isaac, when God tested Abraham and ordered him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering (Genesis 22).  Abraham did as the Lord obeyed, and the Lord not only saved Isaac, but blessed Abraham’s descendants too – what a faithful God!

However, an interesting twist surfaced in verse 6; Isaac was the one who carried the wood that would be used for his own sacrifice.  He allowed his father to bind him on the altar, right up to the last moment.  This is a close parallel to Jesus; he knew his fate, and yet still carried his own cross and allowed his crucifixion to take place, because it was his Father’s plan.

So what does it mean by ‘Taking up your cross daily’?  Luke 9:24 explains well: whoever loses their life for me will save it.  If it wasn’t for Abraham and Isaac’s selfless faith in God, we probably wouldn’t even know the word Israel!  Even if we’re going through hard times, we can still trust in the Lord and give him praise, because we’re giving ourselves to his plans and purposes.  Romans 5:3-5 goes even further:

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Abraham never saw the full fruits of his blessing.  He was long gone before his descendants had chance to multiply as God told him they would.  We too can be comforted that by this if we’re not seeing the fruits of our labours.  We have an eternal goal that only God can fully understand.  In the mean time, Jesus has some great advice for us to remind us of our eternal purpose in Matthew 6:20:

store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal