Carry your cross

Yesterday I wrote about being God’s first responders. I wanted to dig into the idea a little more so I turned to the Bible. I found a verse that supports the “calling” of being God’s responders and that encourages us to follow Christ. In Luke 9:23, Jesus looks at his disciples and tells them, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.” I used to dread that verse. I used to think that it was too much of a sacrifice and it only applied to people who were going into full time ministry. The truth is we don’t have to be a pastor to carry our cross. We don’t have to be on a church payroll to do the work of the Lord. All Christians are called to follow Jesus and to carry the cross. Jesus’ invitation to follow Him is a great encouragement and a great recommendation that can be fulfilled. We are not going to do all this alone. Following Jesus means that we have a leader in front of us and we are protected and we are in great hands. We can follow Christ and we can carry our cross. Do you want to be a disciple of the Lord? If He is your Savior, you have His Spirit in you. In order to become His disciple, you need to carry your cross and deny yourself. You need to be the person the Lord has made you to be and renounce your old ways. God’s first responders are disciples of the Lord and they deny themselves so that Christ in them can be magnified.

Magnifying the Lord is such a powerful thing to do. We should let Him be our everything. We should let Him be the biggest part of our lives and the biggest part of our being. “Christ in us, the hope of glory” says the Bible and we ought to let His light shine so that His glory can touch the world. There is a strong need to deny ourselves and give the Lord the keys to our house. He should always be welcome and His Spirit should be the host of our homes. I know that denying myself is a work in progress. I can’t always give my all but I am making changes in my life that will allow me to be more like Christ. Denying oneself is not always easy because it is winning the battle of the flesh. The flesh is weak but the spirit is willing. If we let our spirits guide us in unison with the Holy Spirit, we will have an easier time denying ourselves. Not being selfish, not thinking about what we can gain is what this is all about. Gaining Christ should always be the most important reward. Showing Him to the world should be the most important motive. Walking in His love should be the most exciting walk ever. Walking in faith should be a daily habit and a sweet lifestyle.

The idea of losing my life for Christ was terrifying. I didn’t want to change my ways. I wanted Jesus in my life but I also wanted to have what I considered a good and fun life. I discovered that living my life through Him and thanks to Him was the best kind of life anyone could wish for. His Spirit won me over. The amount of love and peace that were available in Him just blew my mind. I quickly realized that the love of the Lord was the most powerful force in the entire universe. His love changed everything. His love sacrifice on the cross was the most important miracle of all. Having Him as my Savior and Lord was the best change in my life and giving my life to Him was the best offering I could make. It didn’t cost me anything contrary to popular opinions. It bought me a great life so to speak. It gave me a new lease on life and a new purpose. The purpose is to care for the world with His love. The purpose is to be a beacon of hope and give people the help that is provided by the Lord. Jesus should be our source and our modus operandi. We should function through Him. You and I can carry our cross and follow Jesus. His Spirit assists us and we can be the first responders that our world needs. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Luke 9:23; Matthew 26:41; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

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