“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me’” (8:34). In order to adequately respond to God’s rich grace given through Christ, we must take up our cross and follow him. But what does this picture of sacrifice look like lived out in our lives?
In Jesus’ economy, gratitude equals sacrifice. Because we have received the grace of God, we take up Jesus’ cross—his sufferings, his mission, his selflessness, his love, and his compassion for others. When Jesus initially made this statement, people who heard it knew those who took up crosses didn’t come back. They died. To choose to receive God’s gift of salvation is to choose to take up his cross. How do you need to take up Jesus’ cross today? Jesus said the degree to which we deny ourselves, take up his cross, and follow him is the degree to which we are his disciples.
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