In Luke chapter nine, verse 23, Jesus tells us, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” There is a lot said in just this very short verse.
First Jesus tells us that we must give up our own way. When I first interacted with Christ as the consciousness of the Sun over a few years while using a legal substance, I wasn’t even aware that I had a ‘way’. I was agnostic and secular and cynical about everything.
I found, though, that I had deeply ingrained habits and behaviors which I was convinced were of little consequence but which in the end proved to be great stumbling blocks, and which Christ and God were intent on removing.
I found that they did begin to remove the habits and behaviors from my life that were not righteous, though when my journey began I thought I was a ‘good’ person who didn’t have severe flaws. Soon it became clear, though, that God and Christ were intent on removing my own way and instilling their own in my life.
Christ then tells us that we have to take up our cross daily. I take this to mean that we have to deal with the struggle and discomfort that is produced from making the changes in our life in order to adhere to God’s will. When we accept Salvation through Christ, he comes into our lives and he begins to change us little by little, removing our ingrained habits and behaviors which cause harm and lead us astray. Taking up our cross means any difficulty that arises from deviating from our path of self-will and joining God and Christ on the path of righteousness.
And finally, following Christ means that we obey his commandments just as he tells us we must. He tells us we must love God with all our hearts, love others as ourselves, and live lives of service and charity to the poor and disadvantaged. We have to give up motives of greed and materialism and lead with our hearts, extending love toward other people so that we can live as Christ would have us live.
This verse is a directive on how to follow Christ on a daily basis. Even though sometimes it may feel like a daunting task, we can pray for willingness if we need to, asking God and Christ to give us the strength to move forward one day at a time into allowing the transformation of self that they bring into our lives, in order that we may become refashioned in their own image of spiritual purity. We will never achieve the perfection of God and Christ, but we can daily submit ourselves to the will of God and Christ, and put ourselves in their hands.
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