“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily.” Lk 9:23 NIV
The story’s told of a lieutenant addressing his platoon: “I’m looking for volunteers. Chances are, this mission won’t succeed and many of you won’t come back. If you’re interested, step forward.” Everybody looks around, then takes a collective step backwards, leaving an unsuspecting “volunteer” standing alone. God is not looking for “involuntary volunteers.” Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily.” He wants people who are willing to leave their comfort zone; to give up their expectations that life be lived on their terms; to sacrifice everything for people who may never know they did it; to pay the price so that God’s purposes can be fulfilled. And what’s more, He expects us to do it “daily.” When Jesus said, “Whoever does not carry his own cross…cannot be My disciple” (Lk 14:27 NAS), He wasn’t asking us to do something He Himself hasn’t done. Oswald Chambers said, “If we are devoted to the cause of humanity we will be crushed and brokenhearted, for we shall often meet with ingratitude…But if our motive is love for God, no ingratitude will hinder us from serving our fellowman.” John says, “We understand what love is when we realize…Christ gave his life for us. That means we must give our lives for other believers” (1Jn 3:16 GWT). So, are you willing to “die daily” (1Co 15:31)? When you think about it, that’s harder than physical death because it means denying yourself and obeying God even when it goes against the grain. But that’s what you’re called to do!