Take up my Cross Daily
Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:23-27, NIV)
Jesus also said that we must love Him more than family and self in order to follow Him. (Luke 14:26) Following Jesus requires commitment. Some try to make the Christian faith into a feather bed, warm and comfortable. But the Bible does not teach feather bed Christianity. We are promised that those who follow Jesus will share His suffering. We are taught that we must imitate Christ, and learn to put others before our own interests.
We must not be ashamed of Jesus, but confess Him openly and often as we have opportunity. Unbelievers want us to practice our faith privately, so that our profession that Jesus is Lord of Heaven and Earth does not offend them. While Jesus taught His disciples to pray privately, so as not to parade their righteousness, He also taught that we should confess our faith that He is the Christ openly, before witnesses. (Rom 10:9) Pretending that we are righteous is not good, but giving honor to Jesus will bring a sure reward.
The cross we must carry is self-sacrifice. We must be willing to give the essential core of our existence to Jesus Christ and be loyal to Him above all others. He must be our hearts desire, so that we rejoice when we know we are pleasing to Him. That involves helping people who have special needs. It means feeding, clothing, and sheltering the helpless. It means visiting those sick and in prison, and giving a word of comfort to those who are sorrowful.
I find so many excuses to fail to do the things that would honor Jesus. I am busy writing, or answering email. I am working in the yard or garden. I am checking on my hobby, the Ezekiel’s Water Project. I have my daily routine to follow. I need my nap after lunch. I am cutting some cedar trees to make a guest log house. The excuses are endless. I must learn to honor Jesus more in my life. I must learn to take up my cross daily and follow Jesus. I need less of self and more of others. I want to be more like Jesus.
Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Rom 12:1-3, NIV)
The cross Jesus carried to Golgotha was heavy. He fell under its weight, and the Romans commandeered a bystander to help carry the load. What a blessing it was to that man to share the burden of Jesus! How blest we are when we take up our cross daily and follow Jesus, helping each other to bear the burdens of life.
Those who seek to save their lives (by living selfishly) will lose their lives, but those who seek to lose their lives (by helping others) will gain life indeed. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
How blest we will be when we learn this truth!