It’s not easy!
And it won’t ever be easy!
Still, as disciples of Christ, we are told at least five times in the Gospels to take up our cross and follow Christ.
- Take all the brutality that may come our way, and follow Christ.
- Take all the criticism and the hateful comments, and follow Christ.
- Take the scourging remarks that fan the flame of our insecurities, and follow Christ.
- Take all the rejection and piercings of the heart, and follow Christ.
- Take all the loneliness and heartache as a result of following, and still follow Christ?
Yes. But more emphatically, Jesus instructs us to deny ourselves. . . and then to take up our cross and follow Him. According to the Savior, nothing and no one should impede our allegiance to Him. Not even our family (Matt. 10:37).
Even in the most difficult situations, we should have this foundational principle present in our hearts and minds: losing all earthly benefits because of our dedication to Christ is not really a loss. . . but a win (Matt. 16:25). Losing family, friends, and material possessions for carrying out the cause of Christ means we have won the One who sticks closer than even the closest relative (Prov. 18:24). On the other hand, seeking to salvage those relationships and possessions that hinder our allegiance to Christ will cause us to lose out on the intimacy associated with the most important relationship man will ever know.
We have lost nothing when we follow Christ. In fact, we find our life in Christ!
Jesus Himself said that He gives eternal life (John 17:2). This is a quality of life that can only be found in a relationship with Christ. Jesus described it as He prayed to the Father: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (v. 3).
Knowing Jesus, then, means denying our own desires of the flesh, taking up the weightiness of the cross, and following Him steadfastly. It must be the greatest objective for all disciples of Christ.
Will it be easy? No. Worthwhile? Yes.
Whatever you may be facing today, yield yourselves as instruments of His righteousness in the difficulty. Every time you make the decision to deny what the flesh wants to do and instead you do what He has called you to do, you are taking up your cross. He cautions us to do it daily, because daily will be the opportunity.
Will it hurt sometimes? Yes. Is it doable? The answer is also yes.
You have already overcome the Enemy and the obstacle, for “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Every step is sure underneath the weight of the cross. Be encouraged.