“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”You may have noticed that my posts here all seem to go back to that theme: the cross. This subject has been on my mind a lot lately, because when you think about it, it's the whole basis of Christianity. So if we want to understand our faith, we must understand what it means to take up the cross.
Carrying the cross is a big deal. It's all or nothing. We can't hoist it on one hip and a bag of groceries on the other. We can't juggle it with worldly pursuits (Matthew 6:24). We must deny ourselves--even our very lives, if we must (Luke 14:26)--and bear the weight with every ounce of our being. There's no turning back (Hebrews 6:6).
Jesus laid out this very example:
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.And He demands the same of us:
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.We are to follow His example of obedience to God, even when the going is rough, even if we must drop what we are doing, leave our homes and our jobs and our friends and our family, even if the world turns against us, even if we are persecuted for so doing--even if we die. Clearly this is something more than popping into church for an hour every Sunday. This is a radical change of lifestyle. No--it is our life.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.So why I do find such solace in these morbid thoughts? I guess I find it comforting that there's more to life than the fleeting pleasures and entertainments of this world. There's more to life than life itself. There is a purpose in life; in fact, that purpose extends beyond life. It is everything. Frankly, there is nothing else. Everything I do, in some way, works toward that purpose.
E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me
Still all my song shall be, Nearer, my God, to Thee;
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!