Luke 9:23 (AMP) - "And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also]."
Don't worry. This verse sounds more ominous than it is. Jesus has already been crucified. The believer has already been crucified with Him as well (Gal. 2:20). So, this is not speaking of picking up a heavy cross and lugging it around. In fact it's more about getting rid of a heavy burden ("For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.").
This about conforming to His way each and every day. It's living the Style of the Cross.
It's different from the way we have been taught to live by the world and its philosophies.
It's a radiating force generating outward rather than a self attracting force inward.
We are always better because of Jesus. We are never better as a result of self no matter how much we think that is true.
Become subtracted from the Cross and you will die. Sorry. It's blunt I know. It doesn't make it less true.
Apart from the Cross and us embracing it (taking it up) every day, we will become less than God's desire.
If we become less than God's desire we will shrivel up and be devoured by self.
Remember, without God you won't be able to stand yourself. Don't think for one moment that egoism and narcissism is love. It's really self loathing wrapped up in a facade.
Our being able to stand our own self is all wrapped up in knowing that God loves us. When we turn from the Cross toward vain philosophies that elevate self, we throw up a shield against the love of God and turn the human heart back to stone.
It's the Cross. Stop looking in the mirror for two seconds and recognize it's ALL about Jesus. Put yourself second and He will put you first.
Keepin' it Real,
Pastor Kevin <><