And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27
God has a purpose! The momentary pain does not let us see the purpose, but with time we will notice.
The Lord requires one thing from us, and this one thing is obedience. He says if you love me, obey my commands. He tells us to do a whole lot of things in the word: be holy as I am holy, love those who hate you, put on love, put off wrath, follow me, place your faith in me, turn from your wicked ways, put away your old self, renew your mind, grow into maturity, etc. God is not a dictator, He simply offers us a million ways to show Him that we love HIM more than we love ourselves.
Our Lord is always in control, causing and preventing things from happening. Its easy to think that if God wants us to be faithful He will clear our paths from temptation or that He will change our carnal nature like magic. But the word says that we are called to suffer for Christ! In Luke 14, Jesus told the people that there were requirements to be one of His disciples.
Remember in Gethsemane? The Lord Jesus was in the flesh, and His flesh wanted to skip the part when He would be separated from His father for the first time in all eternity. He had to carry His cross, and in that moment exchange His flesh’s will, for the Father’s will. He stepped down from glory to become one of us, to be under-appreciated, and humiliated: to be a human being, and carry the burden of our iniquities, transgressions and rebellions to Calvary. The Lord carried a cross for you and for me, and He expects us to do the same. Choosing God’s ways and following after His will instead of our own, HURTS!
What comes to mind when Jesus tells you to carry your cross?
- Could it be staying in a marriage that went sour?
- Could it be ending ungodly relationships?
- Could it be raising an autistic child? A rebellious child? Someone else’s child!?
- Could it be a disease you have been expecting to heal?
- Could it be living where you do?
- Could it be working a 9-5?
Being obedient to God depends on faith: you act according to what you believe! For instance, if you believe in your heart or mind: that your flesh makes you happy, blesses you or resolves your problems… then you will disobey God, and honor your flesh. But if you believe that God has the power to resolve your issues, to bless you or to make you happy… then you will choose to honor God. We all battle with our flesh, our hearts and minds but can you confidently say that you are a disciple of Christ?
Remember, the cross we carry will crucify our flesh and therefore bring glory to God. Carrying your cross shows those around you, that God is worth the sacrifice: even when it hurts!
Father God, Lord Jesus we ask you today to help us rebuild the walls of our faith. Help us pick up our cross, and walk after you. Help us to carry it even if it’s heavy, even if it hurts and even if it’s tiresome. May you send Simeon’s who help us carry our crosses in each season. Help us to see the beauty of exchanging our will for yours. In Jesus name, Amen.