Then He said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me."
Jesus words were quite simple and clear in this verse, but fully understanding them is the most important part. This week in my spiritual warfare study, Chuck Lawless pointed out the three keys of understanding the implications of taking up our cross daily found in this verse.
To Deny Self means to reject a life built around self-interest, self-fulfillment, and self-glorification. It means to walk with Jesus regardless of personal cost.
To Take Up Our Cross Daily is to be willing to die for Jesus. Picture a condemned criminal who is forced to carry his own cross to his execution; however, in this case, the disciple of Jesus willingly takes up his cross. Such a deep commitment demands that we renew this pledge every day.
To Follow Jesus means that we continually trust Him and obey His commands, walking in His footsteps as the disciple following the Master. Thus, wearing the helmet of salvation includes all three steps: saying no to self, accepting the cost of obedience, and following Christ every day.