Jesus’ instructed his disciples to “take up your cross and follow me”.
Matt 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “if anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
This instruction has never changed. When you understand God’s love for you and His desire to forgive and to restore your relationship with Him, your daily mandate is to take up your cross and follow Him.
The unasked question is often: “What is my cross? Is it accepting the negative things that happen in my life? Is it accepting defeat, illness or poverty?” I want to suggest that your cross is simply that for which you are responsible.
First of all your cross is your mind, your thoughts and everything that happens between your two ears. Secondly your cross is your body – however healthy or unhealthy. Your cross is to accept your body and work with it to the best of your ability. Your cross is also your family, those with whom you share your life, as well as those in your circle of influence. They will not always be what you want them to be, but you still need to work with them. Lastly, your cross is your job or that which enables you to care for yourself and those who depend on you.
Essentially, taking up your cross means dealing with yourself – facing your own weaknesses and allowing the Holy Spirit to change you and to work through you. We are so quick to judge others, always wanting to change them, because we think that changing them will make our lives better or easier. But on the contrary, we are challenged to take up our own cross in a much deeper and more profound way.
Acknowledging that we are wrong is never easy. We might be logically correct while having a wrong attitude or a wrong motive. We might have a great heart and yet be mistaken simply because we lack knowledge or experience. The sooner we stop wanting to correct everyone around and start focusing our attention on taking up our own cross, the sooner we can start spreading God’s love and grace in the world. You are not always right! Face it and work with it! We have to focus on becoming more Christlike in our actions, our thoughts and attitudes!