Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."
~ Matthew 16:24
One of the things that I often forget is that Jesus doesn't tell us to go out and "build your own cross," or even go and "find a cross to carry." No, Jesus shares that each of us have our own cross to carry. The cross that each of us have takes courage to lift. It takes determination to carry. The question is, are we willing to take up our own cross and carry it on our own?
There are many things that keep us from taking up our own crosses and following Christ. We may doubt our own gifts. We may struggle to accept who we are, or think that we may not be "good enough."
There are a number of factors that keep us from thinking that we can even begin to think of what carrying our cross might even look like.
But let's face it. Our struggles, or the things that keep us from Christ, are the very things that Jesus is talking about. He doesn't say, leave all these thoughts and struggles behind you. He tells us to take up the very things that we struggle with. Instead of them holding you down, pick them up and carry them in a new way. Don't let this drag you down. Instead, take up these things and follow me.
We didn't choose any of it, but these things are our crosses. We can ignore them, reject them, refuse them or hate them. But we can also take up these crosses and follow Jesus with them.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, my cross is before me. Help me to have the courage to pick it up and follow You. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.