Jesus says… “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself (die to self) and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
When we “deny self”, we are able to obey God. We need to deny ourselves, so our worldliness ceases to interfere with our desire to obey God. Thus, we need to surrender our ALL to Him, so He is able to be all He wants to be in us and through us.
To “take up your cross” is something that takes place in our thought life. When thoughts that aren’t pleasing to God come into our mind, we need to “put them to death” on an inner “cross.” In practice, that means that as soon as we become aware of the thought, we disagree with it. We don’t dwell on it. The thought meets a firm “no” in our mind. We don’t permit the thought to pass through our mind and come into our heart… this is how we take up our cross daily.
We are to “follow Jesus” because we don’t know where our path leads.
In Jeremiah 29:11-14, God says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.”
He knows the plan for us, and we don’t. Only Jesus knows!
Jesus, we beg you to move us to complete dependency upon You and allow you to guide us down the pathway You have in store for us.