Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

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To follow Jesus is a journey of learning to deny yourself.

What do I mean by this? Following Jesus is not always easy, you have to learn to die to self.

Dying to yourself means to forego the selfish, physical, and egotistical desires of this world and wholeheartedly seek the kingdom of God.

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

When you study and read around history, you will notice that the understanding of carrying the cross in the day of Jesus is different to modern times.

When a person carried a cross in the days of Jesus, no one thought of it as an annoyance or a nuisance.

To a person in the first century, the cross meant one thing and one thing only: death by crucifixion.

To carry a cross was to face the most painful and humiliating means of death human beings could.

In present day, Christians view the cross as a beloved symbol of atonement, forgiveness, grace, and love.

However, when you look at what Jesus went through on that day, in Jesus’ day the cross represented a torturous death.

The Romans forced convicted criminals to carry their own crosses to the place of crucifixion

see John 19:17 where it reads;

and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.

Bearing a cross meant one was about to die, and that one would face ridicule and disgrace along the way.

Therefore, Jesus’ command to “take up your cross and follow Me” is a call to deny flesh and self-sacrifice.

One must be willing to die in order to follow Jesus. Dying to self is an absolute surrender to God.

Hence why it is paramount in this day and age to tell people that following Jesus is not always peaches and cream.

It is of utmost importance that people are aware that it is not always easy to let go of your will for His will.

There will be times when you feel like you will break.

I once told someone its so easy to sing songs like refiners fire refine me or break me Lord,

until you actually need to go through the process of being broken and refined.

Those are the moments when you really know whether you truly are for Christ’s agenda.

What happens in those moments when His ways mean letting go of that very thing you cherish so much?

How you deal with those moments matter. Trust me that kind of pain is not for the faint of heart.

Imagine Jesus carrying His cross on His back, going up to the Place of the Skull.

Each step Jesus took was Him overcoming the temptation of the devil.

Each step He took; in great pain and agony, was a step closer to our salvation.

Now, imagine us carrying our cross and daily teaching our hearts to not love what we used to love.

Teaching our hearts to let go of the rebellion and embrace obedience.

Because you can’t love obedience and rebellion at the same time.

I want to use Matt 6:24 for reference to drive the point home.

Therefore it is important to remember that we are not alone.
Once we learn to let go of our own will and let God take over, it gets easier.

1 Peter 1:7 tells us; These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honour on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

There is coming a time when the love of many will grow cold due to the increase of wickedness.
How many will stand strong through the various trials?
Matthew 24:12 reads; Because of the multiplication of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.13 But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.
When we go through difficult times in our walk with Christ, let us look at it as training.
Still trust, still fast, still pray and still stand firm. Don’t treat those moments as God forgetting about you.
When it gets hard, do not quit that is not the time to fold, doubt and walk away.
In that moment of giving up, don’t. Learn to  surrender fully to let the Holy spirit take control.
Remind yourself  of each agonizing step Christ took to defeat the evil one.
Before I close, it should be noted that after promising the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who followed him,
Jesus would again warn them of the harsh reality of living as a disciple in this world.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

So, yes, we get that following Jesus is difficult but the Bible teaches us that Christ already overcame the world.

Remember who you are—you are Christ’s bride, his church, so when he said to Peter:

Matthew 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

…he was shouting in the face of everything that would stand against you, against us,

He was simply saying “I will build you up, and hell itself will not succeed in tearing you away from me.

In conclusion, always remember that Christ is enough. Stay in the word and stand firm.

God bless you


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