Luke 9:22-24
Memorise Titus 2:12
“…all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

In New Testament times, the cross had a dreadful meaning and purpose. It was a crude tool of punishment and was meant to inflict the worst kind of physical torture possible on a human being before finally killing him. The cross was meant for the worst of criminals. To be sentenced to crucifixion on the cross one had to commit a terrible crime. Punishment on the cross was not simple death, but a process of shame, mockery and degradation while the victim slowly dies, sometimes over a period of a few days. The cross was a great shame to the victim as well as his family and all who are related to him. If you were related to someone crucified, you would be mocked as well. When Jesus spoke to the disciples about the cross, it must have brought a shudder of fear in their hearts. They must have wondered why Christ would want them to bear this shame and torture instead of glory and honour. Why are they called to bear something so despicable? Is not He the promised Messiah, the Son of God? Why does He speak about His followers bearing shame and even be prepared to be put to death for His sake? However, this is exactly what Christ requires of believers. We are to deny our wants and desires, our comforts and things we hold dearly and even be ready for the ultimate sacrifice of our lives if the need arises. We are to be ready to lose everything for the sake of Christ and Christ spoke of being ready to bear this daily. We have to deny ourselves daily. This is not a one-off resolution, but a consistent and constant effort to be renewed every day.

What do you hold on dearly to and refuse to surrender before Christ? What is it that you cling on to even though it dishonours our Lord?
Is it your treasured past-time? Is it laziness? Is it the way you dress?
Is it your desire for a new electronic gadget? Is it your foul language? Is it your pride and ego? If bearing the cross means denying yourself of all things that dishonour Christ for His sake, will you do it? Most of our problems are hardly “bearing the cross”. They are mild in comparison. Yet, we are ready to disobey Christ for the sake of our little wants and desires. We have much to learn.

Thought: What is your strongest desire? Will you give it up if Christ asked you to?
Prayer: God, please help me to love You more.