Read This: “But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God’s wrath. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life?” (Romans 5: 8-10)
Think: When we reflect on what Jesus did for us, our minds often jump immediately to the crucifixion. But Jesus didn’t only die for us—he lived for us. To be the perfect sacrificial lamb who would die in our place he had to be perfect in his actions and in his heart. Every moment he lived was for the sake of the cross.
Jesus never lost sight of God’s plan. In his work, in hanging out with his friends, as a son under the authority of his parents, as a brother to siblings who doubted his claims, and even in the most menial tasks life on earth, he chose to obey God. Because he was completely blameless, he could make the ultimate sacrifice—his life for ours. His death means our freedom and victory from sin.
Jesus came to show us the way and to be the way. Through him we now have a choice in how we live too. We don’t have to live in bondage to our selfish desire. Jesus said, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Lk 9:23-24). Picking up our cross implies some kind of burden we bare for God’s glory. It can be a painful journey of rejection and personal sacrifice.
But Jesus understood better than any of us the joy that awaits us in the next life. In submitting our dreams, our passions, and our lives to God, we find them all again—and they’re even better than anything we could come up with on our own. Let’s follow Jesus’ example of daily sacrifice and obedience as a testimony to God’s glory.
Ask: What does it look like for you to pick up your cross every day?
Pray: Ask God to help you focus on the big picture with an eternal perspective as you go throughout the day and give you the strength to make sacrifices in his name.