Too often the same thing happens with our spiritual lives—we make resolutions at our conversion and find that the next day we are still having the same old problems, and sooner or later fall into the same traps. But Jesus tells us the trick to making resolutions stick.
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23.
This verse has been misunderstood so long you may have missed the point. The cross you bear is not some problem or disability you may have. I may soon be blind, but that is not my cross to bear. The cross is something you take up voluntarily. I certainly did not choose to have these eye diseases. Other people are blind who are not Christians, and they are NOT taking up a cross for Jesus.
I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I that live, but Christ who lives in me, Gal 2:20. The cross symbolizes death. Taking up your cross is about choosing to crucify yourself. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in his resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him that the body of sin might be done away, that we should no longer be in bondage to sin, for he that has died has been justified from sin, Rom 6:5-7.
And Jesus says I must do it daily. Those twelve step programs are right. You must never think, can I go without a drink for the rest of my life? You would give up right away. The question is, can I do without a drink today? And the alcoholic is encouraged. Of course I can. Then tomorrow he wakes up and says, Can I do without a drink today? And he does. Then the next day and the next, and before he knows it, like my good friend and brother Joe, he has done without a drink for over 20 years!
So forget those New Year resolutions. Take up your cross daily: make a New Day resolution. Can I crucify myself and let Christ live in me just for today? Of course, I can. Then tomorrow, do it again. Then the next day, and the next. Put it right in there with brushing your teeth every morning—something you do without fail--and pretty soon you will have lived a better life for longer than you ever dreamed possible!
For I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, which is in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20