Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?
Memory Verse: You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. James 4:4
Have you ever had a conversation with an individual who has a problem or is facing an issue and refers to it as a cross? Often when the word “cross” pops up in a conversation, its associated with suffering. ‘My cross’ is a phrase used by a lot of Africans in situational conversations where they have come to acceptance that a situation is unlikely to change or shift. People will tell you they have accepted their cross because even being a child of God does not exclude you or give you immunity against trials and afflictions that may be difficult to bear.
In today’s bible text, we see Jesus addressing His disciples. He was telling them to take up their cross daily but does this mean they were to continue living their lives in trials and tribulations? Is Christianity really about pain and suffering? Are we supposed to just go through all those and eventually die in difficulties? These and many more questions begin to come up on my mind but we should become aware that Christ is not addressing our physical life in this bible verse.
The bible tells us in John 4:24 “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” Therefore, you cannot approach the word of God like you would approach any other history book. God has promises in His word, lots and lots of them and not only have we seen the manifestations as recorded in the bible, we are also a living proof of them. If you take proper record of your life, you will have seen some of those beautiful promises manifest in your life too; so therefore we are more than convinced that following Christ is not associated to being miserable and dying in suffering. Jesus wants us who are His followers to be dead to the things of the world, to those weights and things that interferes with our ability to focus on serving God in truth and in spirit.
The minute you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have made a decision to follow Him but so also have you given yourself a NO1 enemy, the devil who will stop at nothing to win you back into his camp. The devil will not only tempt, test, and put you through trials, he will entice you and attract you just to get your attention also. Without you being determined to be of God, the devil’s endless and relentless attempts as a sworn enemy of Christ is likely to win your soul back. This is why Jesus warns us ahead to focus not on gaining the whole word but be more keen about the Kingdom of Heaven.
The only win-win in life is putting to death you own personal plans and committing yourself to the will of God for your life. In doing so daily, it means you have become dead to the cross of the world and decided to let God carry your cross daily. Yes, you will attract the devil’s attention because he knows you are a loss to his kingdom so be ready for an attack. Remember God always defends and empowers His sheep, the more integrated you get with God, the more you believe, trust and understand that the devil can never be a match for God’s children. He builds a shield around them and if God is for His children, no one can win against them.
Would you rather hang onto the things of the world thereby making yourself an enemy of God? Take up your life daily and follow the way of the Lord. There is no greater joy than this.
- Father I thank you for your word that gives light and understanding
- Thank you for another wonderful day just starting
- Help me Lord to trust in You totally
- Help me to take up my cross daily, die to sin and be wholly yours
- I surrender all to you Lord withholding nothing.
- Write my name in the book of life and let not the enemy triumph over me.
- Forgive me all my sins O Lord and let your mercy prevail over judgement
- Thank you Lord for answers to prayers, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.