Today we are going to look at the cost of discipleship again. Jesus’ words were shared by Matthew and Mark for this very important subject. Jesus plainly tells His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (verse 23).
What does that mean and what does that look like? We looked at the first part of this question when we walked through this passage with Matthew in the blog titled “Take Up Your Cross & Follow Him.” I also asked the first part of the question to Google. My favorite answer site was front and center with their view, Gotquestions.org. Our answers matched pretty well so I feel better about my original post now. When we studied this section in Mark we initially dealt with Peter’s rebuking Jesus but ended by looking a little at the second part of our question. We looked at what it might look like in the disciples’ lives in the blog titled “For The Sake of The Call.”
Since we have two sources for the first part of our question, I’m going to skip to the second part for today’s discussion. We touched on the disciples’ day, but what about us today? Let’s focus our time here for today.
In case you didn’t know, I live in a small town in the United States of America. I don’t face a lot of persecution here. For that I am very grateful. But that doesn’t mean there is no persecution for believers today. I don’t know the political climate of every nation, but from what I see and hear, times are tough for many of my brothers and sisters in Christ. The Middle East seems to dominate the list of danger areas for those professing a belief in Jesus Christ. I asked Google to help me in this area too and came upon the World Watch List posted by Open Doors USA.org. They list MANY places where being a Christian is anything but easy. My brothers and sisters in these regions could answer the question of what it looks like to take up your cross today so much better than I can. But I don’t know anyone there who I could ask. I would love to see comments from people in these areas so I could know how to lift you up in prayer. In the meantime, I’m going to write what I think it looks like today for me.
My life is probably a lot easier than a lot of yours, but I only have my own experiences to share. I haven’t lived anyone else’s life and can’t speak to what God is dealing with them on. And I believe this is a personal question. Jesus’ statement made it personal. He didn’t say “take up THE cross” or “take up MY cross”, but “take up YOUR cross.” That means there will be some issues that He is working with me on that may not apply to you; right now. I believe the main thing He has been dealing with me on is putting others first.
When I started looking at this scripture I was prompted by actual events to see my biggest area of falling short of His command. I’m going to share what Jesus touched on in my heart.
I have a tendency to get wrapped up in what I’m doing and want to keep going or working or whatever, until I’M ready to quit. I don’t want others to interrupt me. I don’t want to have to stop in the middle and deal with someone else’s issues or needs. I get irritated when interrupted and don’t always respond with a right attitude.
I’m going to say straight out that some of the interruptions are excessive and should or could be handled by the person calling for help. I’ll also admit that I may have created some of the over dependency and am reaping my just consequences. But none of the interruptions deserve an eye roll or a grumpy reply. This is what Jesus spoke into me.
Jesus never got cross with the person who interrupted His meal because they came to Him for healing. He didn’t roll His eyes at His disciples when they woke Him on the boat. He dealt with the need immediately and with love. IF and when there was a case for exasperation (i.e. the disciples still didn’t get it) He spoke about it afterwards. He didn’t lay into the person, but did voice His feelings with care. Some of His words sound harsh to me (i.e. “Get thee behind me Satan” while speaking to Peter) but He had His reasons and I can’t always hear the tone of His actual delivery. The written word doesn’t ALWAYS translate tone precisely.
So here is what DAILY taking up MY cross looks like for me:
- Put down my agenda and deal with the immediate needs
- No angry attitude about being interrupted
- Speak words of encouragement and love
- Share my frustrations in a kind and loving manner
- STOP talking about other’s faults
- Turn my issues over to God in prayer, including the “faults” I’m dealing with
I know it sounds mundane and probably very easy for many of you, but this is where I’m at today. I would appreciate your prayers as this is my area of struggle. I’d welcome your comments and lists so I can pray for you too, if you feel inclined to share.
Father God, thank You for the relative comfort I live in. My life is easy compared to many. Please watch over my brothers and sisters in Christ who face life and death choices when it comes to following You. Place a hedge of protection around them that keeps the enemy out but lets the love and witness out. Guide them on safe paths. Show them where You want them to walk. And for those who pay the ultimate price for following You, welcome them with loving arms as they step across the threshold of Heaven.
Help me Lord to live a life pleasing to You. Help me become more loving to my family and others around me. Show me where You want me to walk daily. I want to follow You daily, cross and all. Please help me learn the above lesson so we can move on to deeper things too. I love You and want to make You proud of me. NOT me proud though.