Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Taking Up Your Cross

In the Bible we read about "taking up your cross." Literally it could mean carrying around a cross. But the phrase is not to be taken literally. We find this statement by Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 8, verse 34. In this chapter Jesus is trying to teach the people what it means to give of yourself. Jesus is trying to help them understand that He came to this earth for the purpose of giving His life so that all would be saved through Him.
As the disciples heard Jesus talking about having to be killed, Peter tried to tell Jesus this wasn't going to happen. In doing this, Peter was not able to see the eternal perspective. Peter was more concerned with having Jesus with them than trying to understand the powerful ramifications of Jesus dying on the cross. So Jesus seeks to go a step further and explain the concept of self-sacrifice.
As Jesus was going to give Himself on the cross, He teaches us that to really follow Jesus means that we must deny our selfishness, our self-indulgence, and give ourselves over to serving God through serving others. It is only in giving up our wants and seeking God that we can ever really live for God.
The problem is that we get caught up in what we can have in this world. As we see all the materialistic goods around us, we lose sight of Jesus, and the cross. In fact, Jesus has turned into an expletive for many, instead of them seeing Him as Lord and Savior. How far people have turned. How can they take up their cross, when they don't even see their need for the cross?
And that's where we come in, because as we take up our cross and love others for Jesus, we begin to help people understand the full extent of Jesus' love. All the more, as we take up our cross, and deny ourselves, we begin to live a life of fullness, and richness, and blessing. In doing this, we receive more blessing than we could imagine; more blessing than the goods of the world can supply.
What do you need to give up for God? It's a great question. I hope you take some time to analyze and answer it!