what is your cross today?
"Jesus said to all: 'Whoever wishes to be My follower must deny His very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in My steps.' " —Luke 9:23
The meaning of life and of Lent is to be and make disciples for Jesus. His plan is to send us to make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19). To be Jesus' disciples, we must do nothing less than to lose our lives for His sake (Lk 9:24). Disciples "live no longer for themselves, but for Him Who for their sakes died and was raised up" (2 Cor 5:15; see also Gal 2:20). We lose our lives and thereby save them by denying ourselves (Lk 9:23). Self-denial is done in many ways, but the key to godly self-denial and Christian discipleship is the recognition and acceptance of our daily cross (Lk 9:23).
The daily cross is:
- suffering in the pattern of Jesus' death (Phil 3:10),
- freely chosen (see Jn 10:18),
- carried with forgiveness for those who have sinned against us,
- being crucified with Christ (Gal 2:19) by dying to self (see Jn 12:24),
- a privilege (Phil 1:29), and
- a great joy (Col 1:24; 1 Pt 4:13).
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize your daily cross for each of the first ten days of Lent. Bearing these crosses is the key to Christian self-denial and to discipleship.
Prayer: Father, may I be such a disciple that I will make disciples this Lent who will themselves make other disciples.
Promise: "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life." —Dt 30:19
Praise: After Carolyn finished RCIA, the program to inquire into the Catholic faith, she invited her mother to her Bible study.
Reference: (For related teaching, order our book, The Challenge of Making Disciples in a "Culture of Death".)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 9, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 18, 2000