Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
On the basis of certain facts, a relationship has been established between two parties. Now there must be actual evidence to prove that one has made that commitment. This is the aspect of entrusting oneself to that second party. In our Luke text, we see two phrases that reflect this entrusting aspect of commitment, “deny yourself” and “take up your cross daily.”
The word “deny” literally means “say no to oneself” or “renounce self—leave self behind.” The biblical concept of commitment calls the follower of Jesus to “deny oneself” not self-denial. This is not to deny something, but a more complete and total denial of oneself in which one no longer seeks for what pleases self.
This is in direct contrast to the normal way of life where everyone is out for himself or herself. The basic sinful nature of the world, whether communist, capitalist or revolutionary is the same. It desires the promotion of self at the expense of someone else. Jesus says his followers will be known as those who deny themselves.
Take Up Your Cross Daily: The second part is even more extreme. Commitment also calls for the taking up of the cross. In commitment to Jesus, you deny yourself even to the point of willingness to go to your own execution! We only commit ourselves to the point of willingness to die when we understand that the present life ends up in death anyway and the One who has promised us forgiveness and eternal life can really deliver.
In Jesus Christ, the believer has found real life. Therefore the denying of self and the way of the cross are only logical steps for him or her to take.
A young man who had recently become a Christian was returning home to a country where the punishment for conversion to Christ was death. He was asked whether or not he was afraid to go back. He replied, “I have already died in Christ!”
Jim Elliott, a missionary who was martyred in Ecuador, said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
RESPONSE: Today I will commit to entrust myself to Jesus by denying self and taking up my cross.
PRAYER: Lord, I entrust myself to You and purpose to live the rest of my life to the fullest in ways that only You decide.