“And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”
Mark 8:34-36 NASB
Taking up ones cross, daily
There is an effort on the part of some who profess to be christian to have the faith without repentance. The pulpits in those churches talk little of sin and wink at immorality in its members. Turning from sin is the very foundation of what it means to be a believer. I come to Jesus as one bound for hell, unable to save myself, relying on faith in the work of Christ on the cross to forgive my sins. My good works and what I consider virtues are filth in presence of a most Holy God.
The work of salvation was completed by Jesus. In Him, a believer is justified. There is a heart of repentance that brings me to my knees as the Holy Spirit convicts me of my sins. That repentance is not a one time sensation that I bring to the cross once and then resume with life, but an ongoing surrender of my will for His.
In the passage above, it refers to taking up ones cross. In the Greek language in which the passage was originally written it infers that the taking up of the cross is ongoing. I know personally I have to battle daily to take up that cross, to put aside my personal appetites, desires and goals for the cause of Christ.
So often that taking up of the cross means taking the hits from people who hate me without a cause. I remember that my Lord and Savior took the hits from those He came to save. My desire is to strike back, but souls are at stake. I approach my adversaries with love. That cross can be very heavy at times.
I take up my cross when I resist the urge to blend into the world system, to be like everyone else, to make moral compromises that take away the distinction of my salvation. I have found that standing for my faith in every aspect of my life is increasingly out of favor. There is great mocking when I express a view is not politically correct.
So many have sought to join the world in its conventions and sought to be relevant. The spreading of the Gospel has suffered as a result. If “christians” are doing the same things that the world is doing, why be saved at all?
God has marked His people as peculiar, different. I urge you to take up your cross daily. Make those decisions that glorify Christ. Approach all adversaries with the love of Jesus. Be different.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!