Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Take Up Your Cross
"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me," said Jesus as recorded in Luke 9:23.
For centuries, the cross has become the symbol of suffering, affliction, and self-denial, that whenever a believer is in tribulation or distressing situation, we refer to him/her as one "bearing the cross." A woman undergoing great struggle once told us, "I guess this is my cross to bear."
Yes, we take up our cross and follow Jesus when the journey is tough, through the valley of the shadows of death, resting our hope in Him who always guides us and had set His bloody footprints for us to follow along the way. We believe He will strengthen us and lead us to a place of shelter and peace.
And, He always does.
But, what do we do after He does deliver us from tribulation?
What happens after the Lord leads us to a spacious place where our burdens are turned into blessings and our tears replaced with laughter?
Let's consider the fact: believers tend to find it much easier to trust in the Lord in times of trouble than in times of joy!
Most of the time, when life has gone soft on us, the wind of tribulation has been stilled, and God's provision is in abundance, we tend to lay the cross aside, thinking it's no longer necessary to take it up when the road is smooth and easy.
Did Jesus say so?
The Lord had stated it very clearly, "He must deny himself and take up his cross DAILY and follow Me!"
The word "daily" comprises every single moment of our life, in joy and sorrow, in pain and blessing, in good times as well as bad times. There should never be a day in our life that we stop bearing the cross of Jesus!
The cross doesn't merely talk about pain and suffering, tribulation and hardship, in following the Lord. It speaks of living as the Lord's redeemed people who always honor, cherish, and reflect Christ's atoning sacrifice in every aspect of our life, every single day on Earth, whatever the circumstances may be.
This is the foundation of Christian life and the basis of our following the Lord. The cross is our strength as well as shield and weapon. Without it, we will not be able to withstand the attack of the Enemy.
And the Enemy knows how alluring the comfort of abundance really is.
Once the Lord has lifted up our burdens and replaced it with blessing, the Devil comes and tricks us into laying the cross aside. The blessing God has provided can be turned into a trap when we are not careful of the Devil's subtle ways and be seduced into forsaking the Lord's cross.
That's the moment of a believer's downfall!
Let's remain alert at all times, keeping in mind to take up our cross DAILY and follow the Lord. Only in focusing on Jesus in every circumstance we can stay solid and immovable in our faith to Him.