“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23)
Taking up of the cross always involves the embrace of loss in our life. The loss is not inconsequential. It is the loss of something treasured, hoped for, wanted.
The cross is not thrust upon us as it was Simon of Cyrene. God makes no one carry the cross. Jesus said: “I lay down my life … No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” (John 10:17,18) He had come into the world for this very moment – the grand finale of an exquisitely lived life.
The death of Christ became the template for all who would live for Him. Why though should His seeming inglorious end be our everyday reality? Because a life of selflessness is more glorious than a life of selfishness; because a life laid down for others outshines a life where we’re the star; because resurrection life is better than the best life we could ever imagine.
A seed has so much potential, but to produce fruit it must fall into the ground and die. Our fear of losing our lives in this world keeps us from gaining eternal treasures. We cling to earth when heaven could be had.
Christ took up His cross once; but His whole life had been one of sacrifice. His willing loss began when He emptied Himself and came to earth, not as our Creator, but as our servant.
This is the example God in the flesh has left us. It is the imprint He wanted to stamp upon our souls. Live to give; not to get. Live to love; not to be loved. Don’t be afraid to lose what you can’t keep. Don’t only love the cross where Jesus once died for you; learn to love the cross where you can daily lay your life down for God and others. You may have much to lose; but you have far more to gain.