Devotion for Thursday after Ash Wednesday

But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.”
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? ~ Luke 9:21-25

Jesus took up His cross voluntarily, but we are often reluctant to pick up our crosses. We’d much prefer an easy life—no sickness, pain, grief, or worries. But Jesus tells us we save our lives by losing them for His sake. Whatever we gain in this life—wealth, comfort, happiness, health—is not worth losing ourselves. This world isn’t our home, and this life isn’t our primary existence. We were created for heaven and eternity, and we get there through the cross—accepting Jesus’ sacrifice and picking up our own crosses.

Father, forgive me for not wanting to carry any cross You have given me. Empower me by the Holy Spirit to pick up my cross and carry it—to save my life. Give me the strength and courage I need to face whatever challenges I encounter. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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