Grace For The Journey
There is a great deal of confusion today about what sort of cross it is that disciples of Christ have been instructed to carry. Many Christians have turned the cross of Christ into something it was never meant to be. You’ll hear them say, “That’s my cross to bear.” They seem to believe that some unpleasant situation or disagreeable person is a burden they must learn to live with . . . to “grin and bear it.”
Our Lord, however, was laying emphasis to His teaching that the cross He was calling His disciples to take up is a cross of self-denial, self-sacrifice, and ultimately self-death. In taking up the cross of Christ, we die to self and live for the glory of God and the good of others.
Here are two examples of what this cross we should carry is not. It is not . . .
THE COMFORTABLE CROSS, which is really no burden to bear at all, because we are actively pursuing the good life rather than the godly life. Our shoulders are so thickly padded with the stuff of life and the things of this world that we can barely feel this cross. David Goetz offered this sharp admonition: “Too much of the good life ends up being toxic, deforming us spiritually.” Those who carry the comfortable cross attend church regularly and even offer their time, talent, and treasure . . . just as long as it doesn’t take them out of their comfort zones.
THE CONVENIENT CROSS is carried only when it is convenient. As long as carrying our cross does not disturb our comfortable and convenient lives, we are perfectly willing to carry it. But as soon as the cross interferes with our agenda, or disrupts our plans, we put it down.
The cross Jesus says we are to carry is not focused upon ourselves but upon Christ. It is the . . .
THE CHRIST-CENTERED CROSS. The apostle Paul wanted nothing to do with a comfortable or convenient cross. He knew what Jesus had redeemed him from, and his only desire in this life was to be like His Savior.
He makes that known in Philippians 3:8-10, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death . . .”
When you know who you are (a great sinner) and where you came from (a life of separation from God), you can begin to understand what Jesus has redeemed you from. At this level of living, you desire above all else to please and glorify your Savior by carrying a Christ-centered cross. This cross looks like death to the watching world, but it is actually the only way to real life on both sides of the grave.
This is God’s Word … This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”