If you want to follow Christ, the first thing you’ve got to do is deny yourself. You have to say, ‘No!’ You cannot be a self-pleaser and a Christ pleaser. It’s impossible.
These are the words of Jesus in Luke 9:23:
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me [this is absolutely universal], let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
It starts with a decision to take deny yourself, but then it goes on, ‘And take up his cross daily.’
I never liked that word ‘daily.’ I believe every day presents every Christian with an opportunity to take up his cross. But what is your cross? I heard a fellow preacher say it this way: ‘Your cross is where your will and the will of God cross.’ Your cross is the thing on which you can die. It’s the place where you can lay down your life. When Jesus went to the cross He said, ‘No man taketh my life from me. I have the power to lay it down, I have the power to take it up.’ In this sense, no one will take your life from you. If you don’t voluntarily lay it down, you’ll still be in control of it.
Your cross, dear brother, is not your wife. Nor, dear lady, is it your husband. Nor is it the sickness you did not choose and cannot be healed of. Your cross is the place where you can make the decision not to please yourself.
This Reflection is taken from: