Take up His Cross

 

Throughout the scriptures, there are verses that at first glance are difficult to understand, or are easily misunderstood.  This for me was one of them:  Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Matthew 16:24. For the longest time, I misinterpreted this verse. What did it mean? What does it mean when Jesus tells His disciples to “let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me?”

When I became a Christian, I thought this verse referred to giving up all of the fun things in life, the parties, the drinking, and the life of self. This is the concept that many people have about Christianity.  Even some Christians think their struggles are about giving up temporarily enjoyable sins. The truth is we are liberated from a life of sin, a life that will lead to our self-destruction. Sin decreases the value and quality of life.  If we are honest with ourselves, we have all been intimately involved with a sin that has decreased our life. Every sin you remove from your life increases the value and quality of your life.

I had a heart attack; it was called the widow maker. When you survive death, your outlook on life changes. All of the things I was struggling with became inconsequential. The cross of Christ superseded the pettiness of self.

Christian, you need to understand something, we win! When all is said and done, and we stand before the throne of judgment we will be accepted because of the sacrifice of Christ. We win!!  Whatever we give up in this life is not a cross to bear; it is a blessing to receive. Even while Christ was being tortured, He knew He would rise victorious. So, whatever He suffered, as horrific as it was, was only temporary.  His death on the cross was temporary; He rose again. Was there anything that was not temporary concerning His human life? After all, if we believe the gospel we will be given new bodies, we will live forever in heaven in perfect peace.  "And everyone that hath forsaken houses or brethren or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life." Matthew 19:29-30 I submit to you that picking up your cross has nothing to do with what you have to give up but what you stand to lose.

Christ came to pay for our sin. What happens to the people that reject the payment and choose to use their own currency? What happens to those that will not accept Him for who He is? Who are these people? They are your brother, sister, mother, father, uncle, cousin, grandparents, neighbors, and friends.

 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. Matthew 7:13 The cross of Christ, the weight and burden He had to bear were not about giving something up, it was about losing souls. When we pick up our cross and follow Jesus, it means we pick up the burden of Christ which was and is His heartbreak for the lost.  We need to open up our minds to the knowledge that the lost souls of humanity are not going to simply disappear into nothingness, but what awaits them is eternal damnation. This knowledge of lost humanity is the cross we need to pick up, and carry all the days of our lives.

Denying yourself means to sacrifice your personal desires and take on Christ’s burden for humanity. In other words, put the passion of Christ ahead of all other pursuits in your life. Maybe it will be your testimony that saves my brother or friend. Share your testimony.

Ruben Figueroa

Flow at: https://lbfaith.wordpress.com/

Published by Ruben Figueroa