And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
What is your cross?
As this Scripture indicates, to follow Jesus requires each of us to place our wants and desires secondary to Him, and accept daily our responsibility toward God and others.
But this still begs the question, what is your cross to carry?
Jesus’ daily cross was to fulfill the mission he accepted from the foundation of the world from His God. His daily exercise to cross the “T” and dot the “i” in a godly manner involved working in the carpentry shop before his public ministry and then the pronouncement and teaching of His Kingdom before others in the last three years of his earthly venture. He carried the responsibility of moving events toward his trial, execution, and resurrection. He laid the foundation for a Church to outlast history. His incarnate actions were done as a substitute for you and I. He reflected God’s intentions in all his actions and words. He learned obedience through his daily struggles. He experienced pain and suffering as a human. He knew the hatred others had for him yet lived each day resting in His Father’s Will and bore the responsibility of teaching and serving others in God’s name.
That was His cross. But what is the cross you carry?
As we mature in life, we begin to accept greater and greater responsibility. Some people seek it out which is normal in our earlier adult days. Others have responsibility thrusts upon them by others and either meet the call or succumb to its weight. Then others accept commitments toward a personal goal or relationship and hold themselves personally accountable toward fulfilling that decision.
Your cross in the eyes of others may be a minor stone you have to carry each day. But to you the perception is the other way around. Your cross is a large boulder which requires all your strength and focus each day while your friend’s cross is a pocket stone. And they likewise see it the other way around.
Your cross may be the burden of a broken relationship; financial hardship caused by outside forces outside your control; or maybe the outcome of back to back poor decisions which has left you beaten, broken, and busted. Yet, these are the cards you have and Jesus says accept your situation and take the responsibility to fix it by following him toward your new future. You may be a single mom working three jobs and raising two children. You may be a widower in poor health caring for someone else who likewise is struggling through life. Or you may be an entrepreneur putting yourself together again after failing in your third business venture.
Your cross may be a defective health issue that has you struggling each day simply to get around. Or maybe even the threat of your life for leaving your previous religion to follow Jesus. And yet others, it may simply be to marry the person who birth your child out of wedlock and give them a father and home-life as a foundation for a successful life.
As a Christ follower, it is not about you. Each of us has a boulder to push, a mountain to climb, or an ocean to cross. To follow Jesus requires us to accept the responsibility of completing the race before us with all its obstacles. Not as a victim nor an evil rabble rouser, but as a child of the living God. As we accept personal responsibility for our actions, and trust Jesus to lead us via the Holy Spirit, we will find meaning and purpose with our life. In fact, you will find yourself growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ unto maturity as a believer and finisher of your faith.
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