"Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23.
Take up your cross daily, is a phrase that carries a lot weight. We stand at a cross road of choice, we can chose to make the cross heavy and somewhat of a burden or we can embrace the weight of responsibility knowing that our life and the lives of others will be better because of it.
After Jesus was sentenced to death, He experienced a beating that made Him unrecognizable. Sometimes we go through things, to take us to things. When we turn from our selfish ways we may become unrecognizable to many people from our old life but as long as we know that our identity remains in Christ, we have the courage to get up and carry our cross, leaving behind the people who don’t want to familiarize themselves with our new identity.
Know where you are heading:
Jesus knew what was awaiting Him at the top of Golgotha, but He had a choice, either to focus on His pain or to focus on His purpose.
"And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Luke 22:29-30
Become Kingdom focused, choosing to die to yourself daily and focusing on the bigger picture, only then will you have the strength to endure to the very end.
Take small steps:
"If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” Luke 9:23.
I’m sure every step Jesus took wasn’t easy but it was necessary to take Him to where He needed to be. Most Sundays at Kid’s church I chose to prepare the offering message even though they stare at me with blank expressions. I say yes when asked to pray in public, at connect groups, or at church even though I hate it, I give 100% in all my design work even though I can barely keep my eyes open, I am devoted to spending time with God no matter how busy my day gets, I share the passion I have for Jesus on social media and my blog in hope that atleast 1 person will come to know Christ because of it, even though I have been deleted or unfollowed by a numbers of annoyed people. I trust that if I am faithful in the small steps I need to take no matter what, God will entrust me with greater, life changing, opportunities to contribute towards His Kingdom.
Pick up your own cross:
If you are in church long enough you tend to see many familiar faces leave, and not come back, I struggled to understand why, and I tend to take it upon myself to try and bring them back, without any luck. After seeking council from God, I realised our responsibility is to carry our own cross and not the cross of others.
“Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:27
Let me explain; If we have to carry our own cross as well as the cross of others how much more difficult are we making it to reach our final destination. Our responsibility is to disciple ours not discipline others! Discipline is self taught with a willing heart. We should continue pointing people to God, encouraging them that there is hope in the midst of their hardship, but He simply wants us to direct them not dictate to them. As leaders we should take responsibility for others but to a certain extent. We can’t save anyone on behalf of God, in the end it is their decision. We can lead a horse to the water but we can’t force it to drink, our duty is to plant the seed and let God do the watering.
You are not alone:
With that being said, God will never let you carry your cross alone, even Jesus had Simon from Cyrene to help Him carry His cross up the mountain. We have Jesus right beside us carrying our cross every single day, His burden is light and His yolk is easy.
Get up when you fall:
Yes we might trip and drop the cross along the way, Jesus fell three trips before He reached the top, but all we need to do is pick it up daily and continue walking and we need to encourage others to do the same. With every fall we become stronger because we have the greatest encourager of all!
“But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32
It’s never to late:
Just like Jesus saved the resentful criminal who hung next to him on the cross, Jesus will use every bit of his energy to pull us out of our pits of despair, and we should have the same mentality with others. Those who seem hopelessly lost will always have a glimmer of hope and it’s those people that God has called us to reach. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
What is the cross?
#CrossEqualsLove. We should carry our love for Christ daily, as well as our love for others. We need to set out with a purpose to passionately seek and serve no matter how hopeless a situation may seem. If we fall along the way God will always be there to lift us up again. Lets keep our eyes fixed on the cross as a reminder that we are victorious because of what Christ has already done.