And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. -Luke 14:27 (NIV)
Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence. -Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest
In the times when Jesus lived, crosses were instruments of death, reserved for criminals. Today, crosses commemorate the one where Jesus won His victory over death for us. We also have crosses to bear.
When I think of people talking about someone’s cross they must bear, I visualize them physically carrying…dragging…a heavy cross. And on that cross is where their worldly cares: pride, shame, self-pity, sin, worry, infirmity, and all their flesh baggage, must be nailed. And that kind of crushing load is one that no human can handle. It is so great–too great–that we need God.
Consider what Jesus says:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
Today, we wear crosses around our necks, show them on our desks, and stick them on our cars. Let us never forget what cross He bore for us, and when we take up His yoke, surrender our burdens to Him, and walk as He walked, our crosses are suddenly bearable. That is to His glory…when people can look at you and wonder how you can face challenges too great for one human to face, you can tell them it’s not you who makes it possible!
When we die to self, we can look back and realize it was the weight of self, and self-focus, that made life so excruciating. But when we can throw that funeral for ourselves, and live a new life in Christ, our focus is rightly on Him, and He bestows upon us a burden that is light. Thank you, Jesus, for helping us run the race light in this world, and on through to the next.