What Does it Mean to Take Up Your Cross Daily?

What does Luke 9:23 mean?

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

What does it mean to take up your cross daily? I’m going to give you two interpretations and you can choose.

Interpretation #1: Jesus is preaching self-denial

“Following Christ is all about self-denial and going without. If you are not in the daily habit of denying your appetites and desires, you are not a real Christian. The more you deny your needs and wants, the holier you’ll be. So fast everyday and you’ll be just like Jesus.”

Heard this one?

It’s a common interpretation but it has a big flaw. Abstaining from food, Facebook, or fun won’t make you righteous and holy. Not even a little bit. (It might make you religious.)

This message of self-denial is nothing more than the ancient practice of asceticism dressed up in religious jargon. It is a message that promotes Pharisaical self-righteousness and DIY religiosity.

Another problem with this interpretation is it will leave you anxious and insecure.

“Have I denied myself enough?”

You can never know. So you’d better deny yourself some more, just to be safe.

“Don’t touch, don’t handle, don’t taste.”

Pretty soon you’ll be whipping yourself and asking your friends to crucify you for the Easter parade.

Jesus did not suffer and die on the cross so you could join him in suffering. That’s not good news. Jesus died so that we might be free from this sort of dead and useless religion.

Interpretation #2: Jesus is showing us the way to salvation

And who is the way? Jesus is. When Jesus says, “Follow me,” he’s saying the way to salvation is through him and his cross.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me… (Gal 2:20a)

The reason most Christians struggle to live the Christian life is they do not know they have died with Christ. Yet Paul says so again and again.

“You died with Christ” (Col 2:20).

“We died with Christ” (Rom 6:8).

“We died” (2 Cor 5:14).

When you were baptized or placed into Christ, you were baptized into his death (Rom 6:3). This may be the single most important thing that ever happened to you, yet many Christians are unaware of it. And since they don’t know that they died with Christ, they are constantly trying to die.

One more time for emphasis: The gospel declares, “You died.”

You have been crucified with Christ. The person you used to be – dead in sins and alienated from the life of God – no longer lives, but Christ lives in you.

“But if I died with Christ already, why does Jesus say we must take up our cross daily?”

Note that the word daily is only found once in the three accounts of Jesus’ words. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and…

…take up his cross and follow me. (Matt 16:24)
…take up his cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34)
…take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

Why does Luke say daily while Matthew and Mark do not? “Luke is wrong,” says Adam Clarke. “Or at least our English translations of Luke are wrong, for the word ‘daily’ is not in some of the original manuscripts.”

Adam Clarke may be right. I wouldn’t know. I don’t have the original manuscripts. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume Mr. Clarke is wrong and our English Bibles are correct. What then?

Why does Luke say daily?

My view is that Luke isn’t contradicting Matthew and Mark; he’s saying the same thing with gusto. He’s saying we ought to appreciate the finished work of the cross every day.

When I get out of bed in the morning and put my feet on the floor, my left foot says, “Thank you, Jesus,” and my right foot says, “For the cross.”

It’s because you have died with Christ that you live in union with him. This is a great treasure and not something to take for granted.

“Paul, are you saying that if I stop valuing the cross I’ll lose my salvation?”

Not at all. I’m saying if you have been born of the spirit, learn to walk by the spirit.

We don’t die daily – once will do the trick – and we don’t get born again every day. But every day we get to choose whether we walk after the flesh or the spirit.

Say you hear a message that says you need to fast and pray to become spiritually mature. You decide to fast and pray. Bam! You are no longer walking by the spirit. You are no longer trusting in the grace of God. You are trusting in your own fasting and praying to make you mature.

Where does the Lord fit in this picture? He doesn’t, and that’s the problem. Dead religion is a faithless way to live.

“Walking after the flesh” doesn’t necessarily mean running around getting drunk and doing bad stuff. For the Christian, the flesh takes on the subtler guise of good works, duty, and self-improvement.

What does it mean to die to self?

The phrase “die to self” is not in the Bible. Jesus spoking of denying self which is different.

When we hear that we have to die to self we think, “I have to stop being who God made me to be. I have to pretend I’m somebody else – someone who doesn’t enjoy wine, one woman, and song.” That’s a dehumanizing doctrine of demons.

God made you unique. He gave you good dreams and desires that no one else has. When you suppress your God-given dreams and desires, the world is impoverished.

To deny yourself means “Trust Jesus instead of yourself.”

It means live each and every day out of the glorious relationship you have with the Lord. Don’t fall back to the inferior ways of the flesh that you walked in when you were an unbeliever, but stand firm in the freedom of Christ.

This is the point Luke was trying to make. The trusting life is an adventure and it’s good to daily remind yourself that “God is for me. How can I fail?”

Conscious of your loving Father’s acceptance and approval, you will soar on eagles’ wings. And when you apprehend, by faith, the inexhaustible riches of his grace, the whole world benefits.

Why would you want to waste one single day living any other way?

Why crawl when you can fly?


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55 Comments on What Does it Mean to Take Up Your Cross Daily?

  1. Yes true. God is not impressed with religion credential going to church every sunday , giving tithe, praying , fasting & doing missionary work and others…but luke 9:23

  2. Cajetan fernandes // June 23, 2016 at 3:31 am // Reply

    No words to say but just thank you and thank you for this message

  3. We are already born in the Spirit of God, and we are following Christ ‘daily’ if we consciously give way in heart and mind to the Spirit of God rather than to our own self and the world that will surely distract us from growing to spiritual maturity.

  4. Paul, it is very important to read the Word of God for what it says literarily. If God says not to steal, it means just that not to steal. Taking ANYTHING that does not belong to you without the person’s permission is stealing. If God says to DENY SELF! we MUST obey God and do just that. deny SELF, PICK up YOUR OWN CROSS and follow Jesus. ANYTHING short of that is SIN and not of God. We all know that any person carrying his CROSS to the place of crucifation ain’t coming back. HE was going to his sure DEATH. And along the way, he is ridiculed, spat on, etc. The CROSS has always been an offense to the unregenerated soul. They don’t want to SUFFER with Christ. They want to enjoy the PLEASURES of this world. We are told to “LOVE NOT THE WORLD nor the THINGS in the WORLD” . MAtthew 24 warns us of MANY FALSE prophets in the LAST days. Brethren we are in the LAST days. Don’t let no BODY interpret the BIBLE for you. READ IT for yourself.

    • I have seen cross carrying/self denial and suffering raised to the level of idolatry and fleshly pride. Just because the bible says it does not mean we are reading as it was meant to be understood without a ton of religious tradition blocking our view. We also must take things as a whole because chopped up into single parts makes an ungodly mess of things Jesus meant to be life giving and freeing. Also separation from the world has taken on a hellish aspect of it’s own. So much that my neighbor’s church and families have cut all contact with them simply because the husband felt a call to evangelism in a way that was not church approved. In their church you are only correct, saved and unworldly if you are doing things exactly their way and….they can back it ALL up with bible verses. Yet they border on a cult but backed up with scripture.

      • amen Colleen, ” and Judas when out and hung himself” go and do likewise?

      • Our final authority is the Bible. We MUST obey it and believe it 100%. Take the time to read “Pilgrim’s Progress”, ” Foxe’s Book of Martyrs ” and your life will never be the same again. Follow the Bible every one of you and may God bless you as you obey Jesus

    • Seeing that the bible is almost every Christian’s and denomination’s final authority how do you mesh all the contradicting theologies that they all claim came straight from scripture? Humans can come to all sorts of unbiblical ideas while reading the bible. There are so many basic factors that influence what you see when you read the bible. Not only the basics of context, audience and style(poetry, prophecy, allegory, etc.) but the individual history of the person reading it what religious or theology they have been exposed to. Of course the most important factor is the indwelling Holly Spirit but everyone claims that they got their viewpoint from Him despite it conflicting with others who claim Holy Spirit leading.

      • What then Colleen is one to do, by your implications .give up..? For heavens sake NO!. Knowing the gospel is the bedrock….Continue to carry your OWN cross daily, serving the spirit of God and not self, against the world unto death. Love your God with all your mind, soul and being. Love your neighbor as yourself. Show genuine fruits of the Spirit in your life..faith, patience hope, love…etc. Read more and analyze more to understand God’s words more fully. (you will never know it fully in one life time..) Pray that your decisions and thoughts are in tune with Jesus and in sync with the spirit of God. Run the race as Paul describes…to victory over death. You might have to forget what other think and what you see..they can ‘weigh you down’..Be confident in the Lord, and with no regrets…stay humble and when pride increases, nip it quickly..

      • Thank you very much for that piece. The true believers bear witness that agree because we have the Spirit of God in us. God can never contradict Himself. Remain bless.

      • Oh dear did I really do that poorly of a job making my point. My apologies for that rambling poorly pointed second comment. My original point was that suffering and cross carrying has been overemphasized to almost idolatry in some circles and yet those circles swear they are but obeying the bible….100%. Grace unintentionally proved my first point by saying 100% bible while in the same breath pointed me to human writings that are but one human version of what scripture says.
        Having been burned and abused by the fleshly-legalistic views of suffering and cross carrying I tend to bristle at demands that I’m not a good child of God unless I bow to the burden and suck it up under life’s trials. Apparently my poor brain foundered today when I bristled. Jesus came to give freedom to slaves, an easy yoke and abundant life freely for the asking.

      • I’m still a little confused on your first point Coleen. …carrying your cross..overemphasis to the point of idolatry….what make you say that others are overemphasizing and doing this to the point of idolatry….? Do they have a different definition or interpretation than yours? Can I then ask you what you think of ‘carrying your cross’ and your meaning and what does it mean to not overemphasize this spiritual walk? This is not an inquisition Coleen, I’m just trying to understand your thoughts if you do not mind to share or add to yours. In Christ always!

      • When I was still steeped in legalism “cross carrying” was a euphemism for personal suffering. It was held up that personal suffering was a good thing because it meant you were a good Christian. The more miserable you were the better. This all came back to the legalistic teachings of course as you could not live a happy, joyful life because of all the difficult rules and regulations. Happiness was not a good thing either as it got in the way of holiness. Then there was the bunk that God primarily uses hardship and pain(suffering) as testing/growing tools so you could not look to God for relief from your burdens. When the rules made being a wife, mother, home educator & Christian too difficult to the point of physical and emotional exhaustion it was praised as a good thing for that was only your good cross carrying duty and proved you were doing exactly what God wanted you to do. I have never heard a non legalistic definition of cross carrying but I haven’t really gone looking for one either.

      • I hear you loud and clear. The traditions of men and non-scriptural additions can twist the meaning of walking in God’s spirit. Jesus yoke is gentle..The first Western organized ‘church’ used this ‘necessary physical’ pain concept as one of their tools to control their followers. They would equate that a ‘good’ Christian must endure these woes in order to prove their worth in carry their cross..lots of physical labor and works. I do not buy into any of this evil purpose and scheme. The burden that we should feel in our walk to the ‘full’ realization of salvation is knowing and living in a spirit that is truth and quite different from what the world can offer. We now have these lenses that God has given us to acutely discern and grow stronger in his Spirit, as Jesus is our perfect example. We live in a world of evil and decay as we are also members of the Kingdom of God. Thank you very much for your personal elaboration of this topic. God bless you

      • Colleen, I really enjoy reading your comments. To add to what you are saying, I would liken “taking up your cross” to taking on His yoke. One thing is certain, when He said My yoke is easy and My burden is light, He did not have the life you just described in mind. After experiencing that heavy burden myself, I’m convinced that is the enemy’s will for our life, not the life our Father gives us. Blessings

  5. 100% ok, I hope you can cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s

    • By His grace.

    • The Holy Spirit will always guide us to truth and help us live holy lives. We are in the LAST days and the Bible says there will be scoffers. God bless

      • Does it mean they will scoff at your self righteousness or His grace?

      • Very good question about what would be scoffed at..can be very difficult to explain clearly into words..

        My short answer is both. By direct physical observation (self-righteous Christian) and also by being spiritually disassociated from God (his grace would be alien to them):

        From the scoffer’s perspective and observation, she/or he must be acting/speaking in a self-righteous manner as they immediately compare their valuable worldly nature and stance against this ‘different’ person. They would say that no one is better or special over another..etc. Everyone is the same and things have been the same for eons, and we are alone to fend for ourselves, etc. And that there is no grace given to mankind by a creator that leads to everlasting life. They can ONLY value their own stance over God’s view – which they cannot know. Anyone seen as doing ‘good’ beyond their own understanding is immediately condemned or scrutinized as hypocritical.

        These scoffers refuse the grace of God for redemption based alone on their disdain for Christians and their spiritual walk. It must really annoy some of them.

        These scoffers, even presented with the words of God for redemption, because they are absent of the Spirit of God, would regard his words of grace as nonsense. They act upon their selfish and un-regenerated state and find anything to satisfy this nature. They are blind to the truth, and can never know it in their current state of sin and faithlessness.

        When Jesus returns, only ‘true’ Christians will not be surprised. They will be expecting his arrival as the faithful. These scoffers or doubters from all walks of life, atheists to false spiritual teachers will all be forced to see the truth they always wanted to avoid or ignore – as the liars, cowards, faithless ones, gossipers etc. In futility at that time, they will try to hide. There will be no escape. They had the opportunity to know the truth and they rejected it.

      • You have already reached that 100% cuz “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as he is so also are we in this world.” John 4:17

  6. I love this because Jesus/Holy Spirit gave me the word in a singles bible study group that it was His cross I was suppose to pick up daily. Well the leaders didn’t think too much of me for sharing that with them when I got it! They were so proud of carrying their big cross all day…… Thank you Jesus for setting me free! Good word! Great dialog!

  7. This is something I’m really trying to shake. I’ve been a Christian for five years, but I’ve always had this idea that being a “real” Christian meant that I would turn into a different person. That I wouldn’t be allowed to do what I like to do, like what I like, or want to be married. Everyone in my life has told me that’s not how it works, but I just can’t seem to shake it. It’s not like I want to be selfish or do bad things. I just like what makes me different from everyone else.

    • Rachel dear, don’t worry about it, for if you have true salvation through Christ, you are holy. New International Version ( Hebrews 10:10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all and -By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all).
      ( Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me).
      Sweetheart, pour your heart out to God and tell him what you said on here. (1 peter:5-7) “cast your cares upon me for I care for you,” said the Lord. Christ won’t force you to read his word and relying on the Holy Spirit to transform you effortlessly, he will lovingly encourage you, but you are what Christ says you are. When we start believing that and confessing that and that Christ made us righteous, it (ur life), will eventually line up with the word – GUARANTEED! i lost count how many times I messed up, I smoked on and off, drank and used obscene language and even told God to get stuffed as a born again believer. I was trying to do it myself but it is already done. I even argued with my mum today cuz she keeps on cursing me and I used the word of God to counteract her evil witch like serpent tongue. God knows how many times I prayed. Mum is upset, I was upset and I turned to God. Its like she wants me to worship her and I TOLD HER, I only worship the Lord, ur my mum ur not my God. Its up to you, google Pastor Joseph Prince and Andrew Wommack, and sign on to their daily inspiration, trust me, you will be so happy. Its important dear that you know who you are in Christ. He loves you very much.

      God bless

  8. Rachel, do you believe that you see the world and yourself differently, even to a small degree? Do you have a desire to read the words of God in scripture, more, or even begin for the first time? Do you get a little impatient and want some vices to go away immediately? Have you found that some of your family or close acquaintances see your differently over the years, or visa versa? If yes to at least one of these questions then you are on your way to new spiritual living in Christ. Christian living I’ve found,as my own testimony, started as a baby, wanting to suck up all and know all scripture and meanings instantly. I had a a new taste for reading scripture. I noticed my parents saw me differently and It was not welcoming to them. It caused some strife even today. I began to learn how to pray I began to ‘sense’ as a ‘electrifying’ experience God and his spirit working within me as I prayed. After a few years I ‘leveled off’ not as excited in my new spiritual life. I recognized there was one particular sin I maintain for years I just could not shake. it…I saw myself as not much different,and as one of the world. I regained my vitality in my 40s. Over the last 15-20 years I believe I have grown and matured, and still want to know more about Jesus and my Father in heaven. It is a more measured and a real Christian walk, and I look forward to seeing Christ. BL Rachel: It has taken me many years to beginning to run in the Lord today, I crawled and tried walking for many years and stumbled several times. Dusted myself off and got going again…all because the spirit of God is bent on making me perfect when I allow my will to die in the process. I hope my short story helps.

    • I have to agree with Grace on the fact the context of “taking up one’s cross” surely looks like it’s pertaining to self-denial and the willingness to endure the greatest cost (our lives) possible.

      As many have stated, this can’t be done without the power of the Holy Spirit. Does that mean martyrdom is a requirement for salvation? No, I don’t believe that is essential; for one thing, fortunately few of us or those we know have had to risk their actual lives to follow Jesus in full and proclaim and maintain that He is Lord and Savior.

      But I find it hard to agree with some of Paul Ellis’ takes on a number of his posts. They seem to strain to stay consistent to his theme of grace plus nothing. I don’t think works gets us to heaven, but the works are the result of a genuine faith. If someone proclaims he or she is a believer and yet exhibits very little, if any, fruits, then I have to question it.

      • I agree with what you are saying Bert…. The grace (freely given strength and power from God’s essence) to salvation is continuously available (grace after grace and always on, and not discrete and external as in the OT) to lead a believer as they deny their own efforts; except of course for those actions requested of the Spirit.

  9. Michael Press // February 17, 2017 at 1:49 pm // Reply

    Walking in “old man” habits with thoughts of the past and fear of the future causing worry, anxiety, stress, = sickness disease. Walking led of Lord Spirit makes US a “new creation of with KINGDOM thinking. KINGDOM mindset transform thought to always consider others more excellent than self. Dying to self is the process of transformation our selfish behavior to love all others unconditionally. Our struggle is Taking “all thoughts captive unto obedience. We are “the flesh” of Christ, It is Him we are putting to death from world issues see 2Cor 4:7-11: Romans 8:17 And if children, . . . . Heirs with JesUS Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him. The only suffering we experience is struggling with OUR transformation, denying our flesh habits of “so called comforts”. Most which is a form of escape, subtle addictions of coping with not having relationship with our Creator. Not trusting His having given US a spiritual umbilical cord of supply that meets. ALL our NEEDs, l never to leave or forsake US. We have the indwelling Excellency of the power be of God. A power we must surrender (our part) Lord is faithful to do His part. Surrender: “NOT” our will but “YOUR” will be done” Lord.. JesUS was strengthened in Gethsemane by a angel before He sweat blood. We overcome by the Spirit WORD our SWORD. JesUS’ name is coporate. We speak, and must let go and let God

  10. sad that you have not only completely missed the entire message of Jesus, but that you seek to spread this ignorance. you resort to slicing and dicing scripture, instead of embracing it. it is quite clear that Christ and his disciples taught that we need to join in Christ’s suffering abd deny our worldly distractions. Read Scripture with an open heart, and not with an agenda to attack his holy church and the teachings of Christ and the apostles. Peace!

    • Joining with Jesus in his sufferings means we will be persecuted for following him; it does not mean abstaining from food, Facebook, or fun. Indeed, Paul specifically said that the “Don’t touch, don’t handle, don’t taste” message, while having an appearance of wisdom would, in fact, enslave you (Col 2:8, 21). The message of self denial, as it is often taught, is a killer. It causes people to cut themselves off from Christ and focus on themselves. I encourage everyone to set your mind on things above (not eartly things), and fix your eyes on Jesus (not yourself).

  11. Jerry Nendel // March 22, 2017 at 12:01 am // Reply

    I ‘personally’ believe that Paul in Romans 7 was describing something he fell into (just like most if not all of us have) after he was a Christian. Because he said he was once alive ‘without the law’, which he would never have said as a Pharisee. But with that view point it gives a good insight in how the flesh is displayed in a believer’s life. Because Paul wasn’t trying to fulfill the yucky aspects of the flesh, but was trying to be good. And he then said “Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬. What made sin exceedingly sinful was that he saw it being expressed, not just in doing evil, but good as well. And the way he was able to determine this, was that his self efforts were not producing life but death.

    • I hear you Jerry, but there is nothing we can do anyway because we first was born in sin and shaped in iniquity. Our only hope after that is salvation through Christ and then, if we enter it, we must reckon our selves dead to sin, that’s the problem, most Believers are not reckoning and most churches still preach about our responsibilities in regards to sin; the very responsibilities Christ has taken upon himself to discharge or dismiss through his sacrifice. His burden is light and his yoke is easy. Our only work is to believe. Our old nature has been crucified with Christ. That is why we put on the whole armour, then it becomes easy to guard our hearts, fight the good fight of faith, wrestle to enter his rest. The last one is scary, cuz in a nut shell, Christ pointed out that if we don’t strive to enter his rest, (and we enter that first rest when we are saved), but daily, we still wrestle lol and then we might as well fear, said the Lord. I don’t think Paul was wilfully sinning but those sinful natures in him and he was still on the road of learning. He realised that even his best is not good enough, it’s Christ alone man that made it easy for us to be like Christ without any participation on our part, apart from the willingness to be born again.

  12. Romans 7 states the Problem: “what a wretched man Paul am” = (we are) = unable to overcome of self will. Romans 8 Gives the solution Those who are led of the SPIRIT of OUR LORD are sons, brothers. Those that all creation is waiting for to “restore all things” carrying our personal cross is moving toward ones vision of their part as a worker in the harvest. Saying yes means no. Yes to OUR Lord Spirit and no to our old ways. Daily means focUS on the one’s part not only in the harvest but to to establish a hope of glory that is on throne with the “word of His power” to bring lasting change. To carry = willing to die to self will, “not my will be done”. “to carry” = Daily experiencing the intimacy of partnership, not losing focUS on each one’s bigger picture from each one’s vision of HOPE having THE CONVICTION to “SEE” it ESTABLISHED!!!

  13. It’s sad to see people who preach denying self means to deny yourselves pleasure. People kill themselves daily because they are ‘enjoying life too much’. God made so many things on Earth because He wants us to enjoy them!

  14. Johnny Minggol Jr. // June 6, 2017 at 6:36 pm // Reply

    Who said about denying our human desire? Is it wrong to eat, to watch, to facebook etc? Of course not..you first point or argument is a fallacy, while there are many religious group whose way of salvation is by works, hence you said it will create a holier attitude, and there are groups also who tries to mix grace and works to be saved, this verse or particularly the whole context of it is not the fitting text for that. I personally doesn’t believe that this verse mean asceticism, like the monks..it simply says along with the context that following Christ requires the discple to drop everything and follow him..that even to the point of putting your life in danger for Christ sake. Meaning putting Christ as number 1 in life and having no doubt.

    • momzilla76 // June 7, 2017 at 1:13 am // Reply

      It’s not a fallacy by the author but how some denominations/traditions speak. Human desires are at best suspect and at worst sinful. It stems from their erroneous works theology where the more suffering you under go for God the more pious you are in His eyes. When the holy Christian life nothing but hard work and suffering anything enjoyable ha got to be either worldly and/or sinful.

  15. Everything happens once. Christ is not into repetition, “He died once and for all,” He offered himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world once, he died and rose again once. We have to recognise that daily. Daily, we wash our feet through the word of God. We put on the whole armour daily. This is for our sake and the world; cuz satan won’t stop trying to mess up our faith, his attacks comes daily so we do these things for our sake, Christ is the word, he does not have to read it, he is it. We thou, for our sake, need to read it – it’s not a want, it’s a need. That is the only thing we will carry with us,when we meet him and that will be soon no doubt. It was at the cross, liberation came for all mankind and through his shed blood, his punishment for us and so we were liberated from sin, from curses, from sickness and diseases etc; not our efforts but through the cross. So our confidence must be the finish work of Christ, the blood he shed and say it; for “We shall overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.” Be mindful of his finish work daily, cuz satan is at war with us, daily.

  16. Brother, your own non-demonational bias may have you really limiting the meaning of Take Up Your Cross. I think its far richer than just having an appreciation of the finished work of the Cross of Calvary. Its sanctifying for the person if one is following Christ and its the path of discipleship too. In Colosians, Paul offers his suffering for the sake of the Body, so it can offerered in prayer for the spiritual benefit of others.

  17. Roshan J Easo // June 26, 2017 at 12:11 am // Reply

    God is for me how can I fail. I’m glad to see this.

  18. Adriaan Hattingh // October 11, 2017 at 6:24 pm // Reply

    Hi Paul, revisited this piece today as I posted the link on FB for someone who seems to be caught in Interpretation #1.
    In rereading it I came across the following which blessed me so much. Again! “We think, I have to stop being who God made me to be. I have to pretend I’m somebody else – someone who doesn’t enjoy wine, one woman, and song. That’s a dehumanizing doctrine of demons. God made you unique. He gave you good dreams and good desires that no one else has. When you suppress your God-given dreams and desires, the world is impoverished.”
    I realised that although getting Grace, I have not yet started living the unique me God created me to be. Thanks for the “permission”. 🙂
    Blessings, Adriaan

    • Mortify your flesh, die daily, pick up your cross, do no love the world, and the things of the world, the Lust of the eyes etc. Labor not to be rich, go sell all you have, give the money of the things you sold to the poor, then pick up your cross are all words that Jesus told us. Do not walk in the flesh but in the Spirit or else you will perish

  19. Absolutely brilliant Paul, and I can really testify to the truth of it. Jesus sets me free when I see him and realise what kind of relationship he wants with us. His kindness heals my heart and makes me break down in tears of joy and freedom, if only I would face him and give in trying to earn his kindness that he wants so much to give us freely. For me, though I often forget, coming to the end of my self is the best place I could ever be and have ever been, cuz its where I finally give up on thinking I can earn anything with God, realise I deserve nothing, but then accept and receive all his love he has for me, its just the most awesome place to be and its just behind words! But thats what I call coming to the end of yourself, and I really think that thats what Jesus was meaning when he said “Take up the cross *daily* and follow me” I think he was showing us the way to his love and freedom. Cuz, whenever I try and get anywhere with God myself I always seem to drive myself away from him, but when I stop, realise and acknowledge the futility of my striving, give up, and believe in his goodness, I experience the joy of the Lord and am set free to love him once again. Yeah! 🙂

  20. bhancock7 // June 4, 2018 at 7:48 am // Reply

    I’d like to believe that the verses convey what Paul believes the case. But when you consider the context (following few verses) and what the cross meant in that era (and what it would mean both to Jesus and some of His disciples), it seems like we’re trying to do some mental/spiritual gymnastics to fit it into the approach Paul espouses.

    I think what it’s really saying is that we need to be prepared–even to the point of actual bodily death–to follow Jesus and deny ourselves of any earthly comforts that He/Father calls us to.

    Does that mean we’ll be called to martyrdom? Not necessarily. But I think we must ultimately be willing; to deny our old selves, which is the tendency toward self-preservation and protection.

  21. When have revelation of being Lords physical body NOW to manifest HIS RESURRECTION LIFE FREELY through our willingness to surrender our flesh to HIS SPIRIT PRESENCE (TREASURE WITHIN), HIS POWER OVERCOMES OUR WEAKNESS . We cannot crucify our self all over again “it is finished”. We must SURRENDER to HIS WILL to lead us out oF the wilderness we are born into. Kingdom of heaven on earth life FOR NOW on earth, can only be through the operation of LORD SPIRIT power rising up from WITHIN. As HIS BODY He does the work of transforming our mind to have a redurrection life single eye focus.LET GO OF SELF AND LET GOD BE GOD. SEE US AND SEE OUR LORD SPIRIT EXPRESSED

  22. REV 12:11 And they overcame him by blood of the Lamb and word of their testimony, loving not their soul-life even unto death. Persecution will be same today as yesterday because of our testimonies of truth. Paul wrote: 2Co 4:12 “. death operates in us, but life in you. “All desiring to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
    WE ARE “not of the world”, aliens, shifting a culture FROM darkness into KINGdom of LOVE. Anointing came UPON upon JesUS to lead Him out of wilfderness in power, a power that comesINTO US, His BODY to be joined in soul, aligned with “OUR HEAD”. “it is finished” , The anointing we have received teaches US it is His cross if we died with Him. Casting burdens in surrender manifesting allowing, His power operating from US (Body)for work unto greater WORKS
    The lamb includes US brothers, immature , body, dying to self, growing into an image, likeness of love, righteousness etc, from Alpha to Omega, LETTING Lord’s mind be in US, building US UP, to ALL arrive in “one accord” in FULL knowledge of the Son of God, a full-grown man . . the fullness of Christ, SEED after His kind joined “finished”. JesUS’ had boldness , He overame as we must, IF we are to sit “on My throne, (authority). Opposition/persecution will come with change by boldly speaking, gospel, testimonies, with `having single eye focUS on OUR anointing of resurrection power. Giving up world, casting burdens our cross.

  23. I find it challenging to believe that it’s merely about self-denial in the sense of not believing our own ability to be saved in. The context is the reality that it may cost everything possibly, including physical death for one’s faith–which the disciples experienced nearly to the person.

    I realize we’re not all going to suffer that kind of persecution, but the context of this verse isn’t merely about “dying to ourselves” in the sense of allowing Jesus’ death to be our salvation. It means the willingness to give up everything, which is really hard to swallow, admittedly.

    • Yes the gospel is challenging to believe because we have been conditioned to trust in ourselves. We have an urge to save ourselves and prove ourselves that can cause us to miss grace entirely. This is why Jesus calls us to repent (change your mind) and believe (trusting, not trying) the good news (that everything you need for salvation and sanctification has been provided through Christ). It requires an act of will.

      • bhancock7 // June 18, 2018 at 1:12 pm //

        Thank you, Paul, for your comment. I agree with what you’ve said. That noted, my point is that the context certainly appears to indicate that Jesus is basically saying “you must be willing to literally die a martyr’s death if you’re going to truly follow Me fully.” The immediately prior passage speaks of Him foretelling of His own crucifixion.
        Many commentaries I’ve read on this passage reveals the listeners would know full well the implications of what Jesus was getting at. In fact, of course, many of them did die martyrs’ deaths.

  24. Desmond Polson // July 10, 2018 at 12:01 am // Reply

    Luke 9:23 is the most important message to the believer on how to live a victorious life.
    Deny any think to do with self will, self importance, and works of any kind. Put you faith in Christ crucified just as you did for your salvation, and keep it there. When you gave your heart to Christ you were crucified with him, buried with him and resurrected with him. Now the Holy Spirit can work within the believer on a daily basis. You are reconciled with God the Father, saved and born again by God the Son, and living as one with God the Holy Spirit. Praise God.

  25. Emmanuel Awala // January 18, 2019 at 11:56 am // Reply

    Wow!!! This post just deal with our misinterpretation of the Scriptures and taking the written exits out of context ….Interesting!!!!

  26. bhancock7 // May 21, 2019 at 8:31 am // Reply

    It’s awfully hard to NOT think that this indeed is talking about being willing to follow Jesus–if necessary–all the way to physical persecution of the worst kind, which of course also included the ultimate humiliation and suffering in every area possible (which Jesus experienced).
    I mean, never mind whether the word “daily” is at hand or not; I’m currently in Mark 8, and the context of being willing to deny himself and carry one’s cross comes RIGHT AFTER Jesus scolds Peter for forbidding that He Himself die a horrific death, which we know that He did.

    Context is critical, and I don’t see how we can talk around the depth and seriousness of this here.

  27. Taking up your cross.. What is your cross? Meaning.. Lifting up the revelation of the cross of Calvary and allowing it to cause you to receive the revelation of who you are in Him, as you have received Him by grace and live and move having your being in the power of His Holy Spirit. This will cause you to deny the old nature and take up the new. The same way that hunger causes us to desire food, likewise the hunger for love that he displayed on the cross will cause us to want to taste and see that the Lord is good, over riding the hunger for junk food and reaching out to touch the hem of his garment. We are crucified with Christ [ That is our cross. We are crucified with Him. To trust that he had paid the price for our sin is harder than working to earn His approval. We must trust him out of the old man and reach into the new man in us.] nevertheless we live not us but Christ that lives in us and in this life we live we live in this body by the faith of the son of God who loves us and has and gave himself for us. We do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

    Much love to you in Jesus.
    Don’t Give up. Hope came alive at the nativity
    Go tell it on the mountain.

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