Christian Living

We Must Pick Up Our Cross Daily

Becoming a Christian Isn’t a Onetime Decision but a Lifetime of Daily Decisions to Follow Jesus

A friend in high school followed Jesus, and her life exemplified that decision. But after a while she fell into an extreme interpretation of the “once saved, always saved” doctrine. Then her life took a turn.

She reasoned that she had “prayed the prayer” and was good to go. This, she felt, freed her to live and act however she wanted.

Going forward she would rely on God’s grace and mercy to open the door for her to heaven when she died. After all, he loved her and wouldn’t let her down.

After that her life didn’t so much point people to Jesus. And before long there was no evidence that she even followed him. I still grieve for her.

Yes, we can—and should—have assurance for our salvation. Yet this doesn’t give us the license to act however we wish and do whatever we want.

We have a responsibility to do our part in keeping with our decision to make a U-turn with our lives and follow Jesus. Theologians call this repentance.

Pick Up Our Cross Daily

Jesus says that anyone who wants to be his disciple must deny themselves, pick up their cross each day, and follow him. I’m still contemplating what it fully means to pick up our cross, but I do get the part about doing it daily.

Following Jesus is a decision we make each day. It’s not a one-time event when we said a prayer, signed a commitment card, or went through some religious rite. It’s a daily choice.

If you’re like me, some days we do better than others. There are times when following Jesus unfolds with ease. Other days become a struggle, but we persist.

Occasionally a few seasons evolve without giving Jesus much thought at all. And, I suppose, we may live other days in opposition to him and his ways.

Thankfully there’s always tomorrow (for most of us) where we can do it all over again. Each day we have a fresh opportunity to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus.

Following Jesus is a lifetime of decisions, of intentional day-by-day living for him. Our conversion experience isn’t the end. It’s the beginning.

I’ve not heard from my friend for decades, and I don’t know what her life looks like today. But please pray for her, others like her, and us that we will pick up our cross daily to follow Jesus.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Luke 7-9, and today’s post is on Luke 9:23.]

Read more about the book of Luke in That You May Know: A 40-Day Devotional Exploring the Life of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.