Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
In verse 23 we are told to take up our crosses daily. Which means accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord-the Forgiver of our sins and Leader of our lives-requires believing the truth of his message; but it also requires the commitment to follow him, no matter the cost. While the cross today may seem to have a noble and popular meaning, it was a brutal means of execution during Jesus’ time. For him, it would represent shame and humiliation. But the sacrifice he made on the cross provided is with the opportunity for an eternal relationship with God. Now, we must be willing to identify with Christ and his sufferings, allowing our own reputations to become wrapped up in our devotion to him. The choice between living for ourselves (denying Christ) or living for Christ (denying ourselves) must be made daily. That continual choice will determine our eternal destiny.
In verse 24 we are told, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” This statement from Jesus is found in all four Gospels. Two of the Gospels contain it more than once. No other statement from Jesus received as much attention by the gospel writers. This, however, does not necessarily refer to a physical loss of life. Sometimes the greater challenge is continuing to live faithfully for him during difficult situations. If personal happiness and pleasure are our main goals in life, instead of living in God’s plan and by his principles, we will find only disappointment and spiritual loss. But if we are willing to put aside our own ways and make our relationship with Jesus our top priority, basing our lives on his Word, we will find true life and joy-now and for eternity.