Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
- Jesus (Matthew 16:24)
To take up your cross literally means to carry the horizontal beam of the cross (known as the patibulum) which the Romans used for crucifixion. This is what Jesus carried through the streets of Jerusalem as onlookers mocked him. When Jesus told his followers to take up their cross, he was using a physical instrument of death to symbolize our need for spiritual death. Some teach that "bearing our cross" means bearing up through life's difficulties and struggles. God helps us with life's burdens, no doubt, but they are not our cross. To take up our cross (instrument of death) means to literally and deliberately die to oneself. We are to die to our wants, our ways, our thinking, our attitudes, etc., so that we can be resurrected to the new life of Christ.
One example of something we need to die to is self-righteousness. Self-righteousness means thinking another person, because of their behavior, beliefs, political ideology or some other characteristic, is an inferior human being (Luke 18:9-14). We are self-righteous when we think another person is not worth the excess carbon they produce. Let's be honest, we come across people every day (usually other drivers) who because of their incompetence or simple annoyance justifiably deserve our contempt, our mocking and our demeaning. The only solution to becoming like Christ and loving the "worst" of humanity is to kill our attitude of superiority. Thus the need to take up our cross.
What death does God need to bring about in you? Even Paul the apostle said, "I die daily" (1 Cor 15:31). Are you seeking Christ and letting him kill your pride, lust, apathy, selfishness, greed, unforgiveness, dishonesty, etc. Jesus didn't call us to the easy life, he called us to the new, abundant, kingdom life. That life is realized through resurrection, which means that first, we need to take up our cross and die to our old selves.
Here's to death that leads to resurrection.
Keep Pressing On,
- Pastor Tim
I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.
- William Carey
My name is Tim Kirkes. I am honored to be the a child of my heavenly Father, the husband of Lisa, the father of two boys and the pastor of San Dimas Wesleyan church.