Chastisement is an act of God; cross carrying an act of the Christian. When God in love lays the rod to the back of His children He does not ask permission. Chastisement for the believer is not voluntary except in the sense that he chooses the will of God with the knowledge that the will of God includes chastisement. ?For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?? (Heb. 12:6-7). The cross never comes unsolicited; the rod always does. ?If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me? (Matt. 16:24). Here is clear, intelligent choice, a choice that must be made by the individual with determination and forethought. In the kingdom of God no one ever stumbled onto a cross. But what is the cross for the Christian? Obviously it is not the wooden instrument the Romans used to execute the sentence of death upon persons guilty of capital crimes. The cross is the suffering the Christian endures as a consequence of his following Christ in perfect obedience. Christ chose the cross by choosing the path that led to it; and it is so with His followers. In the way of obedience stands the cross, and we take the cross when we enter that way.