Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8 ESV)
Those who do not deny themselves cannot follow Jesus. ...Those who deny themselves wipe out their former wicked lives. For example, those who were once immoral deny their immoral selves and become self controlled.... Those who become righteous don't confess themselves but Christ. ...As a result, let every thought, every purpose, every word, and every action become a denial of ourselves and a testimony about Christ and in Christ. I am persuaded that the perfect person's action is a testimony to Christ Jesus and that abstinence from every sin is a self of self, leading to Christ. Those people are crucified with Christ. They take up their own crosses to follow him who, for our sake, bears His own cross.(From Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers, Hendrickson Publishers, page 3.)
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24 ESV)
Have we picked up our cross today or did we hurry past it and follow our desires?