If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him . . . take up his cross
The cross we are to pick up on a daily basis is not our own cross but Christ's cross. We are closely identified with His cross, however, because we have been crucified with Christ and no longer live; Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20). His cross provided forgiveness from what we have done and deliverance from what we were. We are forgiven because He died in our place; we are delivered because we died with Him. We are both justified and sanctified as a result of the cross.
To pick up the cross daily means to acknowledge every day that we belong to God. We have been purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). When we pick up the cross, we affirm that our identity is not based in our physical existence but in our relationship with God. We are identified as children of God (1 John 3:1-3) and our life is in Christ, who is our life (Colossians 3:3-4).
As a result of this acknowledgment, we stop trying to do our own thing in order to live daily to please our heavenly Father. We stop trying to become something we aren't, and we rest in the finished work of Christ, who made us something very special.
Jesus said, "Whoever wishes to save his [natural] life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it" (Matthew 16:25). Those who strive to establish their identity and seek to establish purpose and meaning in their natural life will someday lose it. We can't take it with us! We must take up our cross daily by acknowledging that life only finds meaning in Christ.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that because of the cross, I can soar in the heavenlies with You. You are my life.