by Wally Fry
Taking Up Our Own Cross
“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,” Matthew 16:24.
In an earlier devotion, we discussed that the Law—any man-made set of rules or works of any sort—never brings us to a reconciled state with God the Father; yet, here we see Jesus seemingly telling us that there are expectations of believers. On the surface, this may seem like a dilemma or even a contradiction. Rest easy as there are no contradic-tions in God’s Word!
Just as we do not save ourselves through our own power and ability, neither do we pick up our crosses and follow Jesus through our own power and ability. It is the drawing and the convicting of the Holy Spirit which brings us to salvation, and the indwelling by the Holy Spirit at that moment which empowers us to follow this instruction of Jesus. What then does He mean here?
We are to take up our cross. This is not that complex. What happened on the cross at Calvary? A sacrifice happened; Jesus gave Himself for us. He gave us everything. That is what He asks in return. Our hopes, our dreams, our plans and our desires simply need to be sacri-ficed on our own cross of service and obedience.
We are to follow Him. This is simple obedience. We substitute His hopes, dreams, plans and desires for our own. Through the study of God’s Word and prayer, we come to learn those as we mature and grow.
Here is the truly beautiful part of this; when we begin to accomplish these things and make His desires for us our own, a wonderful thing happens. We suddenly find ourselves getting exactly what we want in life because we have made His wants our wants!
JUST A THOUGHT: There is no great secret to joy in this life. It is as simple as discovering God’s will for our lives and executing it.