Q. Have you ever done an article on what it means to “Pick up and carry your cross daily”? , as the Lord commands us to do. I have not really understood what this means.
A. The fullest expression of this idea is in Mark 8:33-38, where the verse in question is contained.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:33-35).
When Jesus picked up His cross, He was literally choosing His Father’s will for His life over His own desires. On the night of His betrayal He asked His father three times to be released from His promise to die for us if there was any other way to save us. Each time He ended His prayer by agreeing to the Father’s will over His own. Some call this the unanswered prayer, but the simple truth is that there was no other way.
Most of us will never be asked to make such an agonizing choice with our own life. But we are all asked to put aside our own desires for our life in favor of the Lord’s will for us (Romans 12:1-2). That’s what it means to take up our cross and follow Him. This is often called living a sacrificial life, but there are greater blessings involved in doing so than we could ever hope to achieve on our own.
Because Jesus was willing to humble Himself to the point of death on a cross, God made His name the name above all names, before whom everyone will bow and acknowledge Him as Lord (Phil. 2:9-11).
Because we’re willing to set aside our plans for our life in favor of the life God has planned for us, He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4), including an abundant (John 10:10) and victorious (1 Cor. 9:24-25) life.