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Taking Up the Cross

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Would you be willing to go through torture for Christ? Would you be willing to give your life for Him?

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23, NIV).

I find it interesting that Christ had not yet been crucified when He said, “He who does not take [up] his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:38). How do we make sense of that? For a first-century Jewish man living in a land occupied by Rome, it would not be unusual to see condemned men carrying their crosses to their execution sites. He used this image to explain the high expectations He had for His disciples’ devotion. He told them what He is telling us now: “If you’re going to follow Me, you’ve got to be willing to die for Me.”

So I ask myself this question, “Bryant, are you willing?” When Jesus gives this challenge, I think about how weak I am. I think about how cowardly, selfish, and sinful I am. And I think about Christian martyrs today, knowing that there is more persecution of Christians going on right now than there has been in all of history. I think about people living in that situation, and I wonder, Would I be willing to go through torture for Christ? Would I be willing to give my life for Christ? I surely hope so.

If you call yourself a Christian, what about you?

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