Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. ~(KJV)
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. ~ (NASB)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. ~ (NIV)
Over the past few years the term “Christian” has taken on a negative connotation – one of intolerance, narrow-mindedness and ignorance. We have been told we use our faith as a crutch because we lack the intellectual ability to “deal” with life and circumstances. Anything could be farther from the truth. To refer to ourselves as “Christians” or “Followers of Christ” means we are making a bold step, taking up our cross in a world waiting to pounce on anything even remotely God-honoring.
What does it mean to “walk the way of the cross”?
~ Expect to lose, your life that is (Matthew 10:39)…
I don’t like to lose at anything. I don’t like it when the sports teams I pull for lose. I don’t like to lose my train of thought (which happens from time to time). With taking up our cross and following Him, we can expect great loss ~ the loss of our will, our desires and our goals. Our lives are lost in His will, His desires and His goals for us. It has to be this way. We in LIFT-land refer to this as GIVING YOUR LIFE AWAY…
~ Expect to walk alone at times (Job 2:9)…
At the lowest, most devastating time in Job’s life, his wife tells him to curse God and die. He lost his family, friends, fortune and fitness. How alone must he have felt? There will be times, and some of you may have already experienced them, where walking the way of the cross is lonely. Maybe your family has forsaken you as you forsook all for Him. Maybe you, unsaved at the time you married, found the Lord but your spouse has no interest at all in Christ Jesus and will not go with you to church. Maybe you invested in a life, I mean really invested your time, energy, money and emotion by pouring into another person, growing and developing them only later to have them use you as stepping stone to “big and better”. It doesn’t get lonelier than this. My encouragement to you, claim His promise ~ Hebrews 13:5,” I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
At his lowest, Job gives us this nugget to tuck away…
~ Job 1:21
He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
~ Expect eternal rewards; resist the need for immediate rewards (Matthew 6:19-21)
In addition to the intermittent bouts of loneliness, we will, if we have not already, experience the feeling of being under-appreciated. It is not that we think we are all that and a bag of chips but it is nice, from time to time, to be upLIFTED by a thoughtful word, a Facebook post, a card in the mail… To be honest, that is one of the main reasons I felt so compelled to develop this BLOG site. Yes, the rewards in which we seek will not be destroyed, but sometimes a pat on the back will go a long way. I want to encourage you to continue laying up your rewards in heaven where moth and rust will not destroy! I want you to stand before Jesus with more crowns than you can imagine to place at His feet. Not arrogantly, but thankfully.
We are in this together…
Stefanie Young Brown is a registered nurse who owns her own business providing therapy services for children birth to three who have developmental delays. She has been ministering alongside her husband, Dan, for 7 years, and their camping/conference ministry (LIFT Student Ministries) has become both a domestic and global ministry. She is a mother of one son, Alex, 5 years old. She currently resides in Somerset, KY. She can be reached one of three ways: 1) Facebook, Lexington, KY network; 2) http://skylift.typepad.com/my_weblog; or 3) firstname.lastname@example.org.