In Barry’s and my estimation, one of the most misunderstood and misquoted parts of the Bible has to do with ‘taking up your cross.’ I cannot count the times I have heard or read comments such at “Yeah, he’s my cross to bear,” speaking of an unsaved husband, or “my boss is my cross to bear,” or such like. No, these are NOT crosses to bear. These are situations in your life that the Lord has allowed so that, first of all, you can be disciplined and matured in Him and, second, so that His grace can be seen in your life despite difficult circumstances, thus inviting others to trust in Him. Let’s take a look at the verses which talk about a cross to bear: Matt. 10:38 – ”And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matt. 16:24 – And Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Mark 8:34 – And when he had called the people to him, with his disciples also, he said to them, “Whoever desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake, and the gospel’s, will save it.” Mark 10:21 – Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “One thing you lack. Go your way, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” Luke 14:27 – And whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. It is clear that taking up one’s cross means denying oneself and dying to self. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:31, ”I affirm by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” The Corinthians are the fruit of his labor, which required him to deny himself and die to himself daily. They were not a burden he resented. They were not his cross to bear! What is the cross that we are to pick up SO THAT we can die on it DAILY? We would suggest that it is our willing submission to Christ. That to deny ourselves and die daily means saying ‘no’ to self and ‘yes’ to Christ in every circumstance of our lives. It becomes a way of life. Our bodies, in this way, truly do become living sacrifices. A sacrifice involves death and we die to ourselves every time we deny our own natural reactions to circumstances and instead pray for and prefer Christ’s reactions to be expressed through us. We do have circumstances that can be too difficult. Rather than ‘bear’ these as some kind of wrongfully defined crosses, we are told to bear one another’s burdens, and we are told to cast our burdens on Christ. We were NEVER meant to go it alone, in good times or bad. The times, the circumstances are not our ‘crosses’ to bear. Our willing submission is what we are to ‘pick up’ daily, thus dying to self as we consciously and consistently prefer Christ to express Himself through and in our lives. “Take up your cross” is followed immediately by “and follow me.” We follow Him by the agency of the Holy Spirit within those of us who have been born again in Him.