Take up the cross and carry it with you.
Will you pick up your cross and follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ? Perhaps you will never be obliged to suffer as a result of your faith in Christ, but the question we should all ask ourselves in advance is: would I be willing to pay the ultimate price if I were called upon to do so?
"Then he told them all that if anyone wanted to follow me, he or she would have to deny themselves and pick up their cross every day in order to do so. For whoever wishes to preserve his or her life will end up losing it, but whoever wishes to give his or her life for me will end up saving it. What good is it for a man to obtain the entire globe while simultaneously losing or forfeiting his very identity? "What are your thoughts on this? (See Luke 9:23-27 for further information.)
Those who follow Jesus must meet at least three requirements outlined in the preceding verse, according to the author. For this reason, we must be prepared to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow him. Anything else is merely a semblance of sincere sentiment.
"If anybody would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me," Jesus stated to his disciples, and his disciples understood what he was trying to convey.
The crucifixion was a common method of punishment in ancient Rome, and convicted convicts were required to carry their crosses through the streets to the execution location. Following him required making a serious commitment, accepting the possibility of death, and making a decision that could not be reversed.
The way in which Christians follow Christ is to imitate his life and to execute his commands. It is necessary to take up one's cross and bear it to the end, even if it involves one's own death, in order to demonstrate one's faith in Christ.
We must likewise deny our own selfish inclinations to steer our lives in a way that is not in accord with Christ's will. Following Christ may appear to be costly in the short term, but it is well worth the pain and effort in the long run. There is nothing that can make up for the loss of eternal life.
Acts 16:22-25 provides a fantastic illustration of how to take up one's cross and follow Jesus. Despite the fact that Paul and Silas had been cruelly flogged and sent into prison, they continued to pray and sing hymns to God. Even in the midst of the most trying circumstances, they were worshiping God.
Another instance is when Paul's close friends and family members realized that he was planning to travel to Jerusalem, where he would most certainly be imprisoned, and they pleaded with him not to go.
"Then Paul inquired as to why you were crying and destroying my heart. I am prepared not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel of the Kingdom." (See Acts 21:14 for further information.)
According to Paul, the Christian life is the highest and most fulfilling existence. Even if it is true that bearing one's cross requires sacrifice, the advantages far exceed any negative consequences of choosing to do so.
Nothing, not even life itself, can compare to the blessings we receive through Christ. Jesus desires for us to relinquish control of our own destiny and allow him to guide us in our journey. He understands more about actual life than we do, and he knows it better than we do.
The Holy Spirit will be sent to us as we offer our life in service to Him, comforting us, instructing us, filling us with joy, and guiding us through our difficulties and onto the path that He would have us follow.
We then find the true meaning of life, as well as a dazzling future, not just in this world, but also for an incredibly long and glorious eternity that is impossible to describe in words.