Jesus said: "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."
These words seem very hard, don't you think? The Apostle Paul tells us what people thought about the cross of Christ in his day — it was an object of contempt, associated with scandal, and an object of foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23). So if we are each to follow Christ we know what to expect! There is a cost in following Christ.
Part of the cost in following Jesus is death to all our pride — as we carry our cross we are reminded that we owe all our salvation to Jesus who died on the cross for us.
Another part of the cross is that it forces us to order our life's priorities in a God-honouring way. This world is not our (real) home, so we have to have a right attitude to money, success and 'stuff'.
Our relationships and life-style are also to reflect our cross-bearing — we must live and behave every day as a Christian should. A well-known Christian of past years, Thomas à Kempis, speaking about God, wrote: "Set me where you will, and deal with me in all things just as you will... Where you are, there is heaven; and where you are not, there is hell and death."
When you daily carry your cross, you find Jesus walking alongside you. There is a cost, but there is also a life of blessing.
Dear Lord, help me to daily take up my cross and follow you. Amen.