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The Meaning of the Cross

In Christian circles there is a lot of talk about “carrying or taking up your cross’. As I studied the Bible for the meaning and the source of the phrase, I found that this might be a difficult study. If I was to take Scripture seriously – and I do, it would mean becoming uncomfortable. Following this command would involve exposing some self-centered ways in me that I would prefer to ignore. I found that taking up the cross was a choice but not an option if I was to follow Jesus.

So, if I am obedient to Jesus, I put to death my own selfish desires in submission to Christ, everyday, all day, all the time.

Taking up the cross is a voluntary action. It is not a forced involvement, but rather a labor of love. The sacrifice of selfish desires and ambitions is a natural, if sometimes painful, outflow of receiving Christ’s sacrifice for us.

Taking up the cross is a choice. However, it is not an option for followers of Jesus. Jesus made it clear that anyone who does not take up his cross is not worthy of Him. Whoever holds onto his life - his own self centered plans and ambitions - is destined to lose it, but whoever loses his life for Jesus’ sake will gain it.
This brings me to what carrying the cross does not mean. You may have heard the phrase “It is the cross I bear.” This is usually related to coping with an ailment, affliction or circumstance. When it is not directly related to being obedient to Christ it is simply a circumstance. Taking up the cross means making a willing sacrifice in obedience to Jesus.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Lynne Chapman. All rights reserved.
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