"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
Take up my cross....hmmm. Deny myself? Follow? Every day? No way, too hard you may be saying to yourself. I know I did. But that is what Christ demands of His followers.
What kind of cross are we talking about here? I know I don't carry around a huge wooden tree on my shoulders everyday. Of course, that's not what He is talking about. Our crosses are all different. For some it may be sickness, pride, lonliness, doubt, fear, or anything else that we bear in our lives.
He is asking us to deny ourself everyday not just when we feel like it. Our own desire, selfishness, feelings...In order to truly follow Him we have to give up control and follow in His steps. No matter where it leads us.
He will guide us and lead us in the right direction. He will not fail us.
"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens." Psalm 68:19
If we give up control to Him daily, then He will bear our burdens. We can rest in Him and this knowledge. Everything that happens to us in this life must pass through His hands first. Nothing takes Him by surprise. It may scare us to death to give up control of the cross that we are holding onto for dear life. But to be completely free in Him and experience His rest we must give it up.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:29-30
In exchange for us denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Him He is offering His yoke to us. And it is light, not heavy. And that, my friend, should be a balm to our souls. I'll gladly take up my cross every day and surrender it to Him.