Luke 9:23 – Deny yourself and take up your cross

Luke 9:23  And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

How do I deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow him?

For what purpose are we to deny ourselves?  Is it wrong to look for your own benefit in denying ourselves?  Can it benefit others?  Typically who knows if you deny yourself?  To what extent do you deny yourself?

To deny yourself you should show your contempt for the world.  It should show sufficiency of Jesus in your life.  To chose him over everything else.  It is an attempt to put under control the “flesh”.  The flesh and the spirit are at odds with each other to have control/influence over me.  The flesh leads me to fulfill myself, the spirit leads me to seek God’s fulfillment.

What are ways to deny yourself?

  • To die to a pattern of sin that has kept you entangled.
  • To not take credit for something great that happened; home, work, friends, etc.
  • To not buy the shiny new gadget that just came out.  It will always disappoint, not work as great as everyone else says, break, become obsolete.
  • To stop doing things that are destructive to yourself, like a crutch that keeps you from developing muscles you need.
  • To do something hard just because it is hard.
  • Fast.  Not to influence God to give or help you with something, but out of pure devotion to him.

What does it mean to take up your cross and follow me?  The cross represents death, Jesus willingly picked up a literal cross to die for the sins of you and I.  It can cause physical pain, it will be difficult, it required devotion, it is fueled by trusting The One who calls you to take it up.  Things like afflictions, persecution, trials, injustices, and evils of this world can be a cross.  It would seem that our individual crosses are unique to us, but not something that has never been experienced before by someone else.  We are to joyfully take up these crosses and follow Him.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what cross has Jesus called me to take up.  For almost 2 years now I believe I have been waiting on God.  The funny thing about waiting on God is that you really only know you are waiting on him when he ends the waiting.

Abraham was told by God he would have a son and from that son God would raise up a nation.  We are told that Abraham waited 25 years for this to come true.  Do you think that over that 25 years Abraham may have thought, “did I really hear God say that?”

I have found that waiting on God is very difficult.  One thing that makes is so difficult is that he is God, he can do anything.  I am not waiting for God to figure something out, or learn how to make something happen.  He knows how to make it happen.  He has full power to make whatever he wills to happen.  So why is he having me wait?  Bible says because he is working all things out.  I have found that primarily he is working me out.  He is changing me and using the waiting as the method to change me.

For now waiting is my cross to take up.  I wake up every morning wondering if this is the day he will end my season of waiting.

How do you deny yourself and what is/are your crosses?


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