take up your cross and follow me…

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.   For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 ESV

Insanity seems to be appear with increasing frequency in the daily news. There are many days I think or someone will say to me, “This world is going to hell … quickly”. It is. It feels like Satan knows his days are numbered and he’s unleashing every missile he has in his arsenal.

The battle takes its toll on each of us. We are tempted. We get mad quickly. There is division in our community. Hatred and violence are rampant. Politics gets in the way of so much. Covid created so much havoc. The elections were rigged or stolen or “there is nothing to see here”. Marriages are struggling. Children are wayward.

It is so easy to lose heart. It is so easy to just want to go into our bunker, withdraw and just coast or get by. We don’t want to serve or engage or lead at church – “Let someone else do it, I’m tired”. We don’t dream of ministry opportunities. Pastors are burning out all across the country. Staff is hard to find. We don’t easily share our faith. Again – it is so easy to lose heart.

A friend of mine is a professor at a university. He’s the department head. He told me recently he wants to give up that department head and work to retire as quickly as he can. He said he feels like he fights the administration, his staff, the government, etc. – that he battles those below him and above him. He’s tired. He wants to give up, take a big pay cut and get out of there as quickly as he can.

I suggested to him that he could do that and I’d understand why but could it be that there was another path for him. That perhaps as unpleasant as the job may be, you are getting paid a lot more and it gives you a bigger role to make a meaningful impact on your staff’s lives. If you shift your mindset towards that these people were given to me by the LORD that I might make a lasting Kingdom impact on them and their families, then it might change your outlook from being a “pain” to becoming a “mission”.

More and more of us are wanting to bunker or cocoon and just not engage with a culture that is increasingly losing its mind. We must all bear our own cross. God calls us to the “more”. We each have our own unique genius God crafted in us so we could deploy that to change the world and lead the lost to Jesus. If all the believers retire to the beach, just spend time in their garden, just go solo and disengage from people (because you know, people are frustrating!) and bunker up and have a sign that says “Just leave me alone” … then what good is our faith? Is our faith meant to be bunkered? Or it is meant to be shared – even at great cost to self?

God is awakening this challenge in me. I spent a long season where I expended a lot of energy and left it all out on the field. For many reasons, it beat me up and left me with little fuel in my tank. But there is “more” — so much more. To re-engage will cost me, for sure. But it isn’t about me. HE saved me for a reason. I have a unique gift to bring. Retreating to comfort and solitude feels nice especially in these days but HE calls each of us to pick up our cross and carry it.

I am willing to lose my life. Are you?

5 Replies to “take up your cross and follow me…”

      1. Yes sir thank you
        Stay Strong
        Stay Powerful
        Stay Positive

  1. While wanting to be lazy the other day, I was reminded of Ephesians 6 and how many times it reminds us to stand (3x’s in 2 verses) and even when you’ve done everything…stand. It’s hard to be lazy, hunker down or cocoon when you’re standing. We must be ready and alert!

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