Luke 9:21-27 and Hebrews 12:1-2 put the same challenge of our hero Jesus Christ in two different ways: taking up your cross daily or running a marathon. Following Jesus is a challenge — a life of self-denial, of laying aside sin and things that will only give us pleasure for a short while, of dying to self and living to God, of laying down our lives to save our wives and children, of taking up our cross daily. The world has a different challenge — not that we become heroes of faith but heroes of sight. To be sure, their challenge is easier to measure because you can see it. This challenge is to gain as much of the world as you possibly can. But Jesus asks, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” So which challenge will you accept? Will you take up the challenge of our champion Jesus today and tomorrow and the next day?
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