Picking up your cross is not popular. This world talks about everything but the cross of Christ. Even Christians would like to take the good and easy parts of the gospel and leave the tough ones out. We all would just like to hear about God’s love and leave the carrying your cross part for others.
Francois Fenelon asks us a hard question: “He asks nothing but death, and you desire nothing but life. How can you put up to Him a prayer for his grace, with a restriction that He shall only send it by a channel demanding no sacrifice on your part but ministering to the gratification of your carnal pride?”
Salvation is made of death and suffering. We can’t deny it. We can’t push it away. Instead Jesus invites us to embrace it. When we dare to do it, we are surprised. When we pick up our cross, we are given life and more life. When we die to ourselves, we are given our true identity.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Matthew 16: 24-26, NIV)
Jesus changed the meaning of the cross. It used to be an execution tool. Now it is a possibility to enter into the way of salvation. This is wild, joyous and life-giving to anyone who knows they need to be redeemed. This is a daily event for everyone who walks in the way of salvation. We need to pick our cross daily. We need to surrender to Jesus daily. Even if it looks like death to the world, it is a wild, joyous and live-giving event for all the lovers of Jesus.
Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for? (Matthew 16: 24-26, MSG)
Thank you for the gift of salvation!
Show us how to embrace suffering.
Change in us what needs to be changed.
Fill us with your joyous Spirit!
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Have you experienced the paradox yourself? Please, share! You can find the “x comment and x reactions” button at the upper left corner of this post. Thank you!
God bless you, my fellow pilgrim, as you walk in the way of salvation and pick your cross daily!
Photo courtesy of Megan Isaacson