I’ll bet you could out do me in your list of ‘crosses’ aka complaints! Everyone always has worse problems than we do, right? Do you consider your problems as your crosses to bear? I used to, too.
Jesus said “22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” LUKE 9:22-23
I guess that means if we want to follow Jesus we must first deny ourselves, and then each day take up a cross and bear it (or carry it).
How do you bear yours? Do you carry one? What if the crosses that we are carrying are not actually a problem, but the way we handle ourselves in the problem?
You see? That could be a golden morsel of wisdom. The way we handle ourselves may actually be our cross, not the problem itself. Because the way we’re supposed to handle ourselves HURTS! Yessiree, when we’re handling situations the way Jesus teaches us, it’s hard to bear!
For example, when we have a disagreement, we’re supposed to go to that person first, one on one, to try to reach a common ground we both can tolerate (Matthew 18:15-17).
Most of us pick up the phone and call someone else, and that gets carried away and the problem grows bigger. There is no peace in gossip. In 1 Peter 3:11 it is written “Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”
There’s another gold nugget. Ask ourselves, “Will what we are about to say or do result in a peaceful outcome?” Will it bring us peace or a nightmare?
Would you consider it an easy task to pray for your enemy? Well, pick up your cross and pray for him/her (Matthew 5:53-45).
Would it be easy to humble yourself and apologize to someone you mistreated? Well, pick up your cross and go do it. WE HAVE TO (Mathew 6:14-16)!
Jesus teaches us in Matthew 5:23-24 “23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
He says lay your gifts down and first go reconcile with your neighbor if they have ought against you! Yep, pick up that cross and go apologize.
And is it easy to forgive someone who has hurt you? Of course not, but pick up your cross and TRY to forgive, and if you find it extremely difficult, then take your cross to the throne of God and ask for His help. Because Jesus knows first hand how hard it is to forgive people who have mocked you, tortured you, whipped you, stabbed you, and placed crowns of thorns in your head, because what did He say?
Luke 23:34 “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
Yes, He will strengthen you to forgive and possibly even show you how, if you place yourself in His shoes, on His cross, and simply ask Him for help.
It’s easy to say we have picked up our cross and are following Jesus, when we consider the cross as only a seasonal problem that we have to endure. All things come to an end.
But it’s much harder to say we’ve picked up our cross, as being the new way of dealing with life and first hand situations the way Jesus teaches us to do.
THAT’S THE CROSS. That’s the suffering, referred to in Romans 8:16-18 “16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
No one wants to acknowledge themself as being less important than someone else. And yet, that’s what God’s Word teaches, isn’t it? We must learn humility. What does that mean?
Love…. Mark 12:31”The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.””
Didn’t Jesus lay down His life for us? Hmmm.
Yes, our lives were important enough for Him to take the suffering, knowing his death would result in his resurrection, giving all of us who believe in Him, eternal life with Him.
Pick up your cross; quit playing ‘tit for tat’,
Stop getting even, and quit paying back,
We only hurt our selves when we do that!