Lesson 23 - Take up the Cross

We have seen what it means to be crucified with Christ and have Christ living in us. Today we will look at what Jesus taught His disciples about the cost of following Him.

    Read Matthew 16: 24-27.

What does it really mean to follow Jesus Christ? We have seen that we must die to our old way of life before we can be raised in newness of life. To have Christ living in us means following Him as He leads us, and no longer following the ways of sin. We have surrendered the throne to Him, and sins reign in our lives has ended.

This is what Jesus means by denying ourselves. The "cross" he speaks of is the instrument of His death, which He suffered for us. When we "take up our cross and follow Him" we are embracing the instrument of our own death to sin. As Jesus did not serve Himself, but willingly laid down His life for us, we lay down our lives daily. Day by day we must make the decision not to follow our path, but to follow where he is leading. Every day we must once again carry on our cross up the hill to Golgotha, and crucify the old man who desires to serve sin again.  Remember, Jesus didn't come to make the old man good - He came to make us new creations!

This is the exciting part - When we lose our old life for Jesus' sake, we find our real life. For the first time, we begin to see who we were created to be, and we start finding who we really are! There is real joy in taking our proper place as God's children, and knowing that the old self was not our true identity! All of the temporary pleasure the world has to offer the old man can never compare with the new eternal life God has given us.

Point to Ponder:

We can start to liveas this new eternal child of God right now! Let's deny our selves, pick up the cross, and go on in faith to follow our risen Lord. Then we can truly receive the promise of new life in Christ Jesus. When we lose our life for Him, we find it!