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Daily Strength Blog

Today the cross is an accepted symbol of love and sacrifice. But in Jesus’ day the cross was a horrible means of capital punishment. The Romans would not mention the cross in polite society. In fact, no Roman citizen could be crucified; this terrible death was reserved for Rome’s enemies.

Jesus stated that He would be crucified (Matthew 20:17-19). Many of His teachings emphasized the cross. He presented to His disciples two approaches to life:
• deny yourself or live for yourself;
• take up your cross or ignore the Cross;
• follow Christ or follow the world;
• lose your life for His sake or save your life for your own sake;
• forsake the world or gain the world;
• keep your soul or lose your soul;
• share His reward and glory or lose His reward and glory.

To deny self does not mean to deny things. It means to give yourself wholly to Christ and share in His shame and death. To take up a cross does not mean to carry burdens or have problems. I once met a lady who told me her asthma was the cross she had to bear! To take up the cross means to identify with Christ in His rejection, shame, suffering, and death.

A challenge: “And He said to them all, ‘if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me’ ” (Luke 9:23).
Consider also: Romans 12:2; Philippians 3:7-10; Galatians 2:20.

Action assignment: If you haven’t made a forthright commitment as outlined in Romans 12:1-2, perhaps this is the time to do it.

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