God calls His redeemed ones to prepare not only for service, but also for suffering: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” Luke 9:23
These words are the Christian’s contract, sealed by the Holy Spirit. Everyone who would be Christ’s servant must agree to this relationship before he can call Him Master. The main provision the Lord has made for His servants is for them to suffer in peace. Christ has been careful to reach for the hearts of His servants, for if they love Him deeply they will not merely endure hardships in His service but show their readiness in it.
Christ asks a saint to take his hands off his own will and give it up to Him. From the day he enters Christ’s service he must answer the Savior’s call with “I will.” Of course Christ does not mean for us to make our own cross and run headlong into trouble, but He does want us to take up that cross He has made for us. He intends that Christians not only bear it (for the ungodly manage to do this against their wills), but that we take it up.
No one stoops to pick up something that is worthless; but Christ asks His people to take up the cross the way a person takes up a pearl which lies on the ground in front of him. Christ gives the believer a cross to take up before He gives him a crown to wear.
Adapted from The Christian In Complete Armour, William Gurnall & James S. Bell, Jr