What does it mean that whoever wants to follow Jesus must deny themselves and take up their cross

(CP also 16:24). These are the conditions of discipleship Jesus has laid down and no one can come to Him any other way. This teaching is also found in Mark's and Luke's gospels (CP Mk 8:34; Lu 9:23). Taking up our cross means being self-sacrificially committed to the service of God, and taking it up daily as directed in Luke 9:23 means that we must continue willing to self-sacrificially serve God daily to the end of our life, not only when it suits us, or when it is convenient or popular, but also when it does not suit us, and it is inconvenient and unpopular (CP Lu 14:26-27). The cross is a symbol of suffering, ridicule, self-denial and rejection, and Christians must be prepared to suffer the reproach, hatred and ridicule of the world for the sake of the gospel, exactly as Jesus did (CP He 13:11-14). "Deny himself" means that a follower of Christ has to put the interests of God's kingdom above all else and renounce all self-interests and ambitions which are contrary to God's word (CP Col 3:1-4).

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