In college, when I was going through a trial, I had a friend tell me “well, we all have our own cross to bear”. I remember thinking that was so profound, so true. We all have our own trials and burdens. While thinking that’s true, it also left me kind of hopeless. It made sense, but it left me feeling like “So that’s it? Just bear the cross? No help? No hope?
Later, when I became a Christian, I understood “The Cross” a little differently. In Luke 9:23, Jesus says “And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Sounds like a crazy formula for living a life God’s way:
1. Denial-of self and control over your own life
2. Crucifixion- putting sin and selfishness to death
3. Pursuit-no matter what the cost
I realize now that we are to carry a cross, but (unlike what my friend was trying to explain to me) the cross is not the burden, it’s the place we are put to death.
Jesus carried His own cross to be crucified. The cross was where His flesh was nailed. Once His flesh was nailed and He died, The Cross became a place of victory. It became a place where His burden, our sin, was conquered.
The reason He’s telling us to take up our cross daily, is so that we die to self daily. It’s the place where our selfish ways and sinful nature are crucified.
The cross is the place where we die . . . to live.
Although I agree with what my friend was trying to say (that we will all face trials and hard times) I now know we do not have to carry our own burdens. Christ died and offers us yoke that is easy and a burden that is light (Matthew 11:28).
He died to free us from our burdens, to give us new life. He was crucified for our sin. We are to crucify our sin, our selfish ways, our desire to be in control of our own life, daily. Or as my commentary says: To “take up your cross is to embrace God’s will, no matter what the cost. It is to deny personal control of one’s life; letting go of self determination and replacing it with obedience to and dependence on the Messiah."
We die to live. Let us live in denial, obedience, and dependence . . . denial of self, obedience to the LORD, and dependence on Christ Jesus.
Let us carry our cross to be crucified daily.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)