Monday: Bearing Our Cross
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And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:27).

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

Discipleship means accepting Christ as Savior and Lord. Following Jesus means that you are ready to undergo the same suffering that Christ did. Thus, we must be honest in the way in which we present our message. Certainly the glorious truths of righteousness by faith, Christ’s forgiveness, Jesus’ imminent return, heaven’s incomparable wonders, and God’s unmerited grace should be taught.

But should believers desire to proclaim God’s complete message, they cannot overlook cross-bearing. Sadly, some believers erroneously think that preaching any message whereby human beings are called into action is legalistic. Divine grace has accomplished all, they proudly exclaim, and the human race does nothing except receive it. Jesus, however, disagrees.

Read Matthew 16:21-25; Luke 21:12-19; John 15:17-20; 16:1-2. What should we take away from these texts about the cost of following Jesus?

Before baptism, every candidate should understand that Christ Himself has assigned him or her a cross, without which they absolutely cannot become His disciple. Does this dampen the joy of conversion? Would unrealistically promising them carefree lives somehow increase this joy? Conversion releases believers from the burdens of sin, not from the responsibilities of discipleship. By taking the name of Christ and by publicly revealing that choice through baptism, every believer must be aware that discipleship comes with a cost. What, though, does this world offer that makes what Christ offers not worth it? Nothing.

When was the last time that you took up your cross? What was the experience like? What did you learn from it that could help someone else struggling with a similar challenge?

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Monday: Bearing Our Cross — 8 Comments

  1. Knowing what to expect in a relationship can prepare you for joy and challenges. Some times we give up under pressure because we expect a smooth journey to the promise land. We may experience the burden of the cross in our churches. Often times, people exit the church and end their relationships with God. It's a good reminder to balance our teaching with the cross before the crown.

    Like(16)
  2. “[Jesus] stands between us and God, and for that very reason he stands between us and all other men and things. He is the Mediator, not only between God and man, but between man and man, between man and reality. Since the whole world was created through him and unto him (John 1:3; 1st Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2), he is the sole Mediator in the world...

    The call of Jesus teaches us that our relation to the world has been built on an illusion. All the time we thought we had enjoyed a direct relation with men and things. This is what had hindered us from faith and obedience. Now we learn that in the most intimate relationships of life, in our kinship with father and mother, bothers and sisters, in married love, and in our duty to the community, direct relationships are impossible. Since the coming of Christ, his followers have no more immediate realities of their own, not in their family relationships nor in the ties with their nation nor in the relationships formed in the process of living. Between father and son, husband and wife, the individual and the nation, stands Christ the Mediator, whether they are able to recognize him or not. We cannot establish direct contact outside ourselves except through him, through his word, and through our following of him. To think otherwise is to deceive ourselves.

    But since we are bound to abhor any deception which hides the truth from our sight, we must of necessity repudiate any direct relationship with the things of this world--and that for the sake of Christ. Wherever a group, be it large or small, prevents us from standing alone before Christ, wherever such a group raises a claim of immediacy it must be hated for the sake of Christ. For every immediacy, whether we realize it or not, means hatred of Christ, and this is especially true where such relationships claim the sanctions of Christian principles.,,

    There is no way from one person to another. However loving and sympathetic we try to be, however sound our psychology, however frank and open our behavior, we cannot penetrate the incognito of the other man, for there are no direct relationships, not even between soul and soul. Christ stands between us, and we can only get into touch with our neighbors through him. That is why intercession is the most promising way to reach our neighbors, and corporate prayer, offered in the name of Christ, the purest form of fellowship.”

    Like(12)
  3. We must be mindful that we ought to know what we believe, why we believe what we believe and be able to know where to find it in God's Word. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to orchestrate our journey as we carry the Cross.

    Like(9)
  4. Nothing in this world is comparable to the world that Jesus has promised, too many preachers preach smooth doctrines, come to church and you will get rid of all your suffering, pain, and family issues...Jesus told us...all men will hate us because of him...a cross is not a symbol of hassle free life, but it is the symbol of eternal life.

    Like(5)
    • Somehow those preachers preaching smooth talk that when you come to church you will get rid of your sufferings pain and family issues have truth in them. When you give your burdens to God he will lighten the load that wearing you off. Jesus said cast your burden upon me those who are heavily laden, come to me all of you who are tired and carrying heavily load and I will give you rest... It doesn't mean though that you will not work anymore for He said for the yoke I will give you is easy and my burden is light. To think about it it's like we are beggars who found bread, but our next burden is to tell other beggars where to find bread.

      Like(2)
  5. I was having a discussion with a work colleague one evening, I had invited him home for a meal, and he had accepted. I don't really remember how the subject came up but we ended up talking about Christianity. I could see that God was calling him.

    He must have realised that he had come to a point where he needed to make a decision. His response was, "Owen, I can see the road you travel. The path is a difficult one. There must be an easier way."

    He obviously counted the cost and decided it wasn't worth it. He has been looking for an easier path for a number of years now. I still keep in contact with him in hope.

    Christ said that He is the way. The path we follow has no false illusions about it. It is a difficult path. Why, because it is offensive to the natural mind. The entire Gospel is an offense to the natural mind. I have heard people ask me, "You mean to say I can't get there on my own?" "What do I need forgiveness for, I live a good life?"

    The Gospel is offensive because of pride. The path Jesus asks us to follow requires humility. It requires us to put self aside and consider others. Think about it, how easy is it to give a thief your shirt, just after he has taken your coat? How easy is it to love and to forgive the murderer of your child?

    This is the righteousness we are called to be. It is unnatural. It goes against the human sense of justice. It is offensive. But this is the righteousness that God requires.

    This sort of righteousness can only be achieved if Christ is living within us. This is the cross we carry. I have seen Christians bring trouble on themselves because they deliberately set out to cause offense in the name of Jesus. When they strike trouble they think they are carrying the cross of Christ, but they are deluded. If we are truly living a righteous life as God wants, there will be those who are attracted to us because of our love for others. There will be those who will take offense, not because we have done anything to offend, but because the path of light that we walk contrasts the darkness they have within.

    Like(17)
  6. [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting. Thank you.]

    We should be taking up our cross every day but sometimes ( I believe) we forget to do so. But Jesus said (and ask) us to do this. We should never assume that it will be a smooth ride but a very bumpy ride with ditches and chasms there. We need not forget that Jesus is there to pick us up if we only ask. He never expects us to do this alone. That's why He is there for us.

    Like(2)
  7. Wonderful submission, and so true. Many Christians are indeed hated simply because they light offends others' (even other Christians') darkness. Loving our enemies is unnatural, and can only be done in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus loved unconditionally; He commendeth His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. The ultimate in true discipleship and Christian living is to seek to attain to that goal. In our attempt to do so, we will certainly offend many along the way-family, friends, and fellow believers. But we are to calmly, firmly, yet kindly stand our ground for Christ. In the final analysis, we will be victors.

    Like(3)

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