Take Up Your Cross

We tend to want to go immediately from “denying ourselves” to “following Jesus.”  But you can never follow Jesus unless you have first taken up your cross.  There are aspects of God’s redemptive work that can be accomplished only through suffering.  Just as Christ had to suffer in order to bring salvation, there will be hardships you may have to endure in order for God to bring salvation to those around you.  Jesus did not talk with His disciples about the cross until they had come to know He was the Christ.  You will never be able to endure the suffering of the cross unless you have first been convinced Jesus is the Christ.

(Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God Day by Day, p. 49)