A cross – I wear one daily, but do I really live out the call of my life defined by the cross? It’s not an easy question to ask myself and really makes me examine the state of my heart.
Over the past two weeks Luke 9:23-24 has literally popped up in my life everyday, multiple times.
“Then He said to them all. ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it.'”
This is a little different message than the traditional “Jesus died for you! You’re saved by grace!” Although those messages are true, there’s a crux. We must DENY our flesh and CARRY A CROSS.
In Jesus’ time, a cross was a symbol of shame. Crucifixion was reserved for those the Roman government wanted to publicly humiliate in death. Jesus wasn’t just nailed to a cross, although that would be more than my pain tolerance could bear. He had a crown of thorns crushed into His skull, was tied to a post and beaten with a whip, and then forced to carry a 125 pound wooden post on his back – Remember that whipping? Yeah, that meant he carried 125 pounds on open wounds – along a road called Via Dolarosa (the way of suffering). After that, he was finally nailed to a cross and stabbed in the side with a spear to make sure he had taken his last breath. The cross was a symbol of death. A death he suffered for you. A death he suffered for me. They were bloody and back then we certainly wouldn’t be wearing one around our necks.
My challenge to us as believers is to not devalue the cross and the call to follow Christ. I’ve been reading a book called “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman. It is all about being a follower of Christ rather than a fan. Being a fan cost you nothing, being a follower costs you everything. Followers deny themselves and carry their cross daily. They lose their life to save it.
In evaluating the state of my own heart I’ve realized there are seasons in my life where I’m dying daily and following Christ. Unfortunately, there are other times when my flesh wins and I’m merely a fan. Following Christ five days of the week isn’t enough, He wants all day everyday for the rest of my life. I’m challenging myself to die daily and I’d like to encourage you to join me! I’m tired of just wearing my cross. It’s time for me to carry it. Dying doesn’t sound very appealing, but that’s what is amazing about our God. We die to ourselves and in return are given an abundant life. We aren’t committing our lives to misery, we are giving it up for a life we’ve desperately wanted all along!
Today is Good Friday. Today we wear a cross that reminds us of the love shown for us at Calvary. Today we remember the blood of our sinless Savior that was shed on a cross 2,000 years ago for the forgiveness of our sins. Today we remember that when only love could make a way Jesus gave His life in a beautiful exchange. Today we carry our cross and walk with Jesus down a road leading to our own death in exchange for an eternal crown.
In the words of Lecrae: “Jesus saved my life, HALLELUJAH! “