Courage in the Cross
“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:38
Simply put, God has a terrific gift for us. He promises to forgive the wrongdoings we committed in our mortal lives, Provide us with an abundant joy with Him in the afterlife, and save us from the isolation of spiritual death. However, these gifts require something from us in order to receive them.
When Jesus refers to those taking up their cross and following him, he is referring to self sacrifice. During Jesus’ ministry, he had swarms of people following him, amazed by his miracles and inspired by his humility. But shortly after, few would remain by his side during his condemnation and execution. The same happens today. There are multitudes in the general public who will claim to be Christian, because they wear a cross on a necklace or were perhaps baptized as an infant, but have since never gone to church or had the courage to discuss their theological beliefs with their peers. This half hearted, impersonal relationship with God is not sufficient for anything. Jesus expected the disciples that followed him in those days to lay down their lives for him just as he was preparing to do for them. And this generation of disciples is expected to do the same thing.
Today, we in the western world have little fear of being crucified, but the mocking and harsh criticism that Christians often experience is just as bad or even worse now than it was then. Jesus reassures us that we need not be afraid of our fellow man. Human fear and social commitment serves as nothing but a distraction from our one true goal of proclaiming Christ to the world. So pick up your cross, and don’t be afraid of what the world will say about you. Instead, fix your eyes on Jesus and let your faith in him be stronger than your fear of man.
Prayer: God, give me boldness. I will carry my cross to the grave and shout the name of your Son on the housetops until my dying breath. Give me eyes to see and a mind to consider the lost, so I will never see a person as just a person again, but as a soul that will either be found by you, or lost to you. Praise be to your name and the name of your Son, Jesus. Forgive me for denying you when I was mocked or threatened by my fellow man. I pray for a perspective of eternity, so I will understand the importance of Christ’s commission. Keep ahold of me Lord during my journey. Without your Spirit, my human effort is worthless. For Jesus’ sake I ask it. Amen.