“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 8:34-35 [See also Luke 9:23.]
“Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33
This doctrine is discarded by all who call Christ “Lord, Lord,” but do not the things which He says. The language of their hearts is, “Speak to us smooth things, prophecy deceits” (Isaiah 30:10). How different was that of the apostle! “Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27).
No cross, no crown.
Let us not, then, be afraid of the cross; for, when we bear it, it bears us. And when we refuse to take it up, we refuse the staff of every Christian pilgrim and the weapon of every Christian soldier. We renounce the tree of life for that of vain knowledge, and practically deny Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Our life should be an imitation of the life of Christ; He is our example. We must carry His cross, tread in His steps, breathe His spirit, and then we shall wear His crown. The way Jesus went is our way. The end Jesus aimed at is our end. And the home of Jesus will be our home.
Devotion by Karl Heinrich von Bogatzky (1690—1774)
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