“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
This is a very tall order. In fact it’s really impossible in today’s world. Who has the time for this? We’re just supposed to drop all of our responsibilities and walk away from everything? What about my goals and everything I want to accomplish for myself and my family? How am I supposed to balance all this?
These are good questions, and questions we should be asking ourselves regularly. This is not an easy life. In order to get along we have to continually ask ourselves these types of questions. We have to continually try to improve ourselves. The good news about this passage is that you don’t have to do anything. Jesus says to only do this if you want to follow him. If you don’t, then I guess it doesn’t matter what you do. But if you’re going to follow him, then follow him. Don’t do it half-heartedly.
So what does it really mean to take up your cross daily? I think there’s two ways to look at it. One way is to resolve to accept the fact that your life is miserable and you have to deal with it. There’s nothing you can do about it so why complain? Just accept it and deal with it. Try not to have too many interactions with people, because all you’re going to get is their opinion or advice. You don’t need people budding into your life anyway, right?
The other way is to accept it, but ask God to help you accept it. Look at the situation and find Jesus in it. Talk to others to get their perspective. Unite with Jesus in your life. There’s a beautiful scene in “The Passion of the Christ” where Simon of Cyrene was ordered to carry Jesus’ cross. Simon wanted nothing to do with Jesus. He was with his family and didn’t want any part of this. He was traveling on the road, going somewhere with his family. Busy with his life. Is that you? Notice what happens next. Jesus moves next to Simon, locks arms with him and they walk to Calvary together. That’s how Jesus wants us to carry our crosses. With him.
This week I challenge you to ask Jesus how he wants you to carry your crosses. There are many ways; just listen to him for the answer. With us alone, it’s impossible. But with God, all things are possible.