Sketch by Patrick Murphy: http://inspiredsketch.blogspot.com/
This series is excerpted from a piece written by an author at Christaslife.com. The author wished to remain anonymous.
Jesus was the most self-giving person who walked this earth. His mission was to sacrifice Himself so that we might have new life. It is surprising to me then, that He would come down to this planet to elicit followers whose primary mission was to be self-indulgent, comfort-focused, self-willed and to make the focus of their honor toward Him based mainly upon the blessings, the gifts and the benefits that they could receive. It would seem to me that His goal would be more along the lines of making us more in His selfless image and freeing us from selfish tendencies. And so, based on His words spoken to those who were considering becoming His followers, we find that that is exactly what He came to do. Here are the Lord’s words:
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Luke 9:23-24
In two short sentences Jesus sets forth the standard by which all who claim Christianity may measure their commitment to Him and their dedication to His way. The Lord states clearly that in order to come after or follow Him you must take up and handle the Cross and not just talk about it. There are certain things we may surmise from His wording. The Cross is not just about what Jesus provided for us but requires our involvement; hence the words “take up the cross”.
If you feel you are presently following Christ, yet have little daily involvement with the Cross, then you might want to reassess your involvement in light of His words and definitions. Is your “Christian life” characterized by self-denial? If not, then you are not properly following Jesus. It is Jesus and His words that define Christianity, not modern-day preachers. Would you be willing to take the word of others over that of the Lord, knowing that you will have to stand before Him concerning what standard you lived by?