Spirit and Life Devotional is a daily publication by Pastor Chinaemerem Ibezim, senior pastor of Able Ministers Chapel, a church based in Calabar, Cross River State.
“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” – Luke 9:23 NKJV
You know, we’ve made ourselves the entire focus of Christianity; we’ve reduced Christianity to a way of getting our needs met – feeling good, looking good, living fine, enjoyment, etc. Not many of us know about carrying crosses. I sincerely wonder how many of us would remain Christians if we were being persecuted for our faith.
But we don’t have to be persecuted in order to do God’s will. Following Jesus demands a lot of personal sacrifices and saying no, again and again, to ourselves and our desires, and saying yes, again and again, every day, to the cause of the gospel. It’s putting God and the kingdom first before anything else.
Jesus said, “Any of you who want to be my follower must stop thinking about yourself and what you want. You must be willing to carry the cross that is given to you every day for following me.” (ERV) He said, “Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses every day, and follow me.” (GW) And according to Young’s Literal Translation, Jesus said, “If any one doth will to come after me, let him disown himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Don’t be the Christian who will not inconvenience himself or herself for Christ. Don’t be the Christian who cares about what people will say if they see you preaching the gospel. Don’t be the Christian who puts business and pleasure before fellowship and commitment to the things of God. Jesus carried His own cross because of us, we too must carry our own crosses because of Him.