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Wednesday July 18 – Take up your cross and follow Jesus!

And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me…” – Luke 9:23-26

Scripture reading: Luke 14:25-35

Time and time again the Lord Jesus called people to follow Him, including His disciples and others like the rich young man. It was wonderful when people accepted this command, but He also made it clear that following Him was not easy. His way would go through suffering to glory via the cross to resurrection and eternal life. Those whom He called to follow Him, He also commanded to take up their cross. What this meant differed for every disciple and follower, today also. It could mean trouble, persecution, rejection, and hatred. It also means fighting against our sins, as Christ bore our sins on the cross.

Today, still, we are called to crucify our old nature and walk in newness of life. It means that we should deny ourselves, denouncing our own will and submitting to God’s will. That’s never easy! There is much in this world that appeals to us; to sacrifice ourselves and abstain from anything sinful and selfish won’t be easy. It will help a lot, though, when we realize that the reward for sin is death, eternally, while the reward of righteousness in Jesus Christ (a life of obedience) is eternal life. It may seem as if believers have to give up a lot as if their lives lack pleasures and joy. Looking at the destiny, however, of those who live for themselves (which is death), will make the yoke of Christ seem light. Take up your cross, therefore, and follow Him! It’s not a heavy cross, but a way of joy and hope and love!

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray for endurance, and ask the Lord for His Spirit to strengthen you as you follow Christ and bear your cross, whatever it is that you may have to bear or sacrifice in love to Him.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. William den Hollander (Sr.) is minister-emeritus of the Bethel Canadian Reformed Church of Toronto.

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