How Taking Up the Cross Became A Daily Affair

Eons ago, my would-be-mentor gave me a little card when she first invited me to join my church’s youth ministry leadership team. I do not recall what she wrote, but the quote on the card remains etched in my memory, some fifteen years on. It said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Reading Jesus’ words made me want to drop out of leadership even before I had begun. The stakes were too high, I remember thinking to myself. As if denying myself were not enough, I had to take up my cross—and follow only Jesus.

As a young person, I had a problem with praise—I craved it. I did things, said things, and behaved in ways wanting to be praised for doing so. Each successful attempt led to a greater obsession with people’s praises. Denying myself of this praise was the last thing on my mind.

Also, the thought of having to place His plans and His way before the things I enjoyed, such as movies, sports, and the like, was a tough pill to swallow.

On top of all that, I was a very competitive youth. Friends were getting boyfriends, and so I went and got myself one. Schoolmates were really good at sports, so I trained hard as well. Close friends told me that speaking rudely to my parents was cool, and that staying out late after school was the way to go—so I followed their example. Following Jesus meant not trying to keep up with my “cool” friends, and living life His way instead.

Although joining the leadership team meant giving up so many things I loved and enjoyed, I was too proud to back out after giving them my word. So I gritted my teeth and dived into it.

Fifteen years on, I’ve served in the youth ministry, the church worship team, missions board meetings, intercessory group—the list goes on. Not once have I regretted serving God’s people or watching His young people fall in love with the Word and lead others to Christ. In fact, the only things I’ve regretted were moments of self-centeredness: when I turned down an invitation to join a missions trip because I wanted to go on a holiday with my friends, and when I had someone else lead my cell group because I wanted to focus on my studies.

Certainly, there have been times of exhaustion and stress, but not one day has gone by without the joy of the Lord being my strength. I’ve found that self-denial becomes easy when you are constantly praying for other people. Taking up your cross daily becomes easier when you begin each morning hearing His call through His word.

Following Him then becomes the only logical path to take.


1 reply
  1. sam mwaura
    sam mwaura says:

    for me taking up my cross meant getting attacked by some strange phenomena at age 18 …. I was making my way to school after running a Marathon which in high school was the only sporting activity I excelled in seeing I trying track and field and sucked at it even while in grade school .… running a marathon meant so much to me coz I enjoyed the way the sweat felt on my back as I raced into the sun set man !!! the feeling it gave me seeing the outside of the school compound twice a week was the illest ever … but one day I felt like I could hear my footsteps as I ran on the hot tarmac road … that night began what I can only describe as days of hell on earth for me … since then ave battled 12 yrs of sleeplessness and days of being unable to cope with life !! just going to some place on my own is a complete daymare its forced me to stay indoors from the time of that incident in high school to now !! I have trouble concentrating on one item for too long after reading my bible something I haven’t done in 8 yrs since we moved to the rural area of my capital city Nairobi I get bored quickly then I move to another bit of my hobbies and on and on !!! haven’t been to church ever since we left the city 8 yrs ago and counting man that’s how I bear my cross !!! if we suffer we reign … suffering is momentary like getting stuck in a train !!!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *