It is not an initiation ceremony. It is not a rite of passage. Carrying the cross, making it my own, is not something I do for the Lord Jesus to love me more; it is not done for He to accept me based on my own strength to carry such a heavy burden. No, carrying the cross will not make me worthy.
To take the cross is a vital part of been human, real human, if by ‘been human’ we mean to fulfill God’s original design for us. To fulfill that design I need to relate to God in a more substantial way than just in the relationship Creator-creation. To be a real human being, I need to relate to God as my Redeemer. And for that, I need the cross. I need to be reminded of the consequences of my sins and transgressions. I need humility; I need the ability to recognize the real condition of my heart. Those who favor a positive-self-esteem approach to life will be disappointed by the brutal honesty of Scripture, when it presents our need for humility. But before we reject our need for the cross, consider the next phrase from our Lord: “…and follow me.” What an invitation! How sweet of the Savior not to leave us in our own estate of sin, death, and misery.