What Does it Mean to “Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus?”

I’m reading my Bible (part of my goals this year is to finish the Bible) and I’m in Mark.  My Bible is an NIV Study Bible so periodically, it offers explanations, insights, and questions.  One question is “For you, what does it mean to ‘take up your cross’ and follow Jesus?”

I have often heard this asked and wondered myself.  So, first thing I usually do it google whatever I’m curious about.  What a great tool–the Internet!

I found an awesome explanation about what it meant back in Jesus’s time and how it’s meant today:

http://www.gotquestions.org/take-up-your-cross.html

In sum, it means are you willing to lose everything to follow Jesus.  Not that you have to give up everything. Not that this will happen.  Just are you willing.

From our BSF study of Isaiah so far, we’ve learned it’s more about what’s in your heart rather than actions or deeds.  You can go through the motions of doing God’s work but if your heart is not in it, then it’s meaningless to God.

I just finished Matthew and half of Mark and the Pharisees figure prominently in these books.  They are the Biblical men who are always trying to trip up Jesus.  Jesus chastises them over and over again for their empty actions.  Their hearts aren’t in their work for they do not care about the people.

This is a great question that is often misunderstood.  People, some of whom are defined by their things, have a hard time with this one.  But it’s not about the doing of giving up your things.  You can give up all you have and still not have a heart for Jesus.

It’s about having the heart for Jesus and striving every day to be more and more like him. This is our calling and what God desires for each of us.

And it’s a challenge.  Usually every day I must repent for something or other.

Luke 9:23:  Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

We must deny ourself, die to self, and follow Jesus, His will for our life, every day.  His will not mine.

Today is a new day and as long as God is the one in front I can do better.  For my heart is with Him.