Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Old Rugged Cross

 Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me

Growing up I always assumed I understood this verse. I mean it seems so straight forward, right?

After hearing this verse, my first reaction was shock and fear, is God asking me to die this kind of horrifying death? After contemplating what I thought this meant, I went forward assuring myself incorrectly I wouldn’t want to, but if , insert big if, God asked me to die upon a cross I could do it. I mean it’s a onetime thing, over and done, right? Even Jesus’s disciples thought much in the same manner, when Peter said he would lay down his life for Him.
 Make no mistake, Jesus commissioned each of us to make disciples of all the nations, He makes full disclosure of the risks and personal cost to each of us, in a world that rejected Him first. While some will have most of all their cost up front in a onetime act of self-sacrifice, the cross a majority of Christians will carry or even lay upon to their own deaths is built one splinter at a time.

Every moment, every action, reaction and interaction we have is a choice. Will we act in the flesh; will we react with our old selves? In our interactions, will we, do we deny self, where is the cross you carry. The passion of Christ was to die on the cross in our place. His love for you and I was so complete, the idea of hoping down to catch His breath was nowhere to be found.

Being a witness can be painful. Forgiving others can be painful, so can letting go of grudges. On any given day we may be confronted by a whole host of evils, it’s unfortunate that our reaction to these splinters is to pull back, and set the cross down, as if we've done our part. Most of us side with Peter in saying we would lay down our life's for His, but do we have the strength to face all of those tiny little things he asked us to do? When the Christian walk breaks the skin and draws a tinzy bit of blood, do you scream bloody murder? 
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  1. Yes! And all of those little deaths we die everyday in the mundane moments of life build eternity within us, because we are building our lives not on the sand that is passing away but upon the rock that endures forever. So when the big storm comes and beats against our lives, it cannot touch that eternity within us. That's how martyrs are prepared - by learning to say "no" to the self and "yes" to God in the little things today.

  2. This is profound, Dave. I will do my best with my next splinter.