Jesus says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23. He also says, “Take My yoke upon you” [Matthew 11:29]. What are the cross and the yoke?
“The yoke and the cross are symbols representing the same thing—the giving up of the will to God.” The Review and Herald, October 23, 1900.
Your cross is giving up your will and yoking up with God’s will. Why is it so hard to let go of your will, your self—your life as it is? In Luke 9:24 it says, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”
In the Greek-English Lexicon, that word for life means the life you live/lifestyle—the earthly. So when you try to preserve your life/lifestyle with all of its weights of character defects, you will lose it anyway—because it will be destroyed. But if you will lose your life—destroy your earthly lifestyle and yoke up with Christ—your life will be saved.
Your self has a battle to fight, because it wants to hold on to the weights that you are to lay aside, the things that so easily beset you (Hebrews 12:1). Why would you want to hang on to weights such as envy, evil thinking, evil speaking, covetousness and eventually be destroyed? Lay those weights aside and yoke up with Christ.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1.
“[Hebrews 12:1 quoted.] … Who are the witnesses? They are those spoken of in the previous chapter—those who have breasted the evils and difficulties in their way, and who in the name of the Lord have braced themselves successfully against the opposing forces of evil. They were sustained and strengthened and the Lord held them by His hand.
“There are other witnesses. All about us are those who are watching us closely, to see how we who profess a belief in the truth conduct ourselves. At all times and in all places, so far as possible, we must magnify the truth before the world.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 934.
These weights are cumbersome and not worth hanging on to. Yoke up with Christ as that great cloud of witnesses before you have done.
“Jesus invites us to come to Him and He will lift the weights from our weary shoulders and place upon us His yoke, which is easy, and His burden, which is light. … The sacrifices which we must make in following Christ are only so many steps to return to the path of light, of peace and happiness.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 480.
Heavenly Father, Grant me the grace to let go of these earthly things that weigh me down, these earthly characteristics which misrepresent Your character and that will destroy the opportunity for me to inherit eternal life. Give me the strength to die to self and to yoke up with Jesus. Amen.