“Anyone who does not (“persevere and” Amplified Bible) carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:27) What depth of God’s power rest in the depth of our understanding this simple word, ‘perseverance’ which means “to persist / continue in a state or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition or discouragement; the tenacious refusal to simply quit / give up." To arrive at the finish line of life’s journey, you MUST first be IN the race (be a genuine believer / follower), then you MUST finish the race / cross the finish line (Acts 20:24, 2 Timothy 4:7)! For the believer, this race has the divine requirement that we “carry (‘shoulder’ The Message) our cross” – this seems to imply that means "carrying (shouldering) one’s cross” involves carrying a 'burden.' One dictionary defines the English noun "cross" as "an affliction that tries one's virtue, steadfastness, or patience." God tells us that it is in this ‘furnace of affliction’ (Isaiah 48:10) where our faith is tested (i.e. fully revealed) – and a furnace is never a place one chooses to go for ease or comfort. We actually risk compromising God’s plan for our lives and sometimes the lives of others when avoid God’s furnace(s) by our seeking the path of least resistance (i.e. when we choose to be a ‘partially devoted follower’ rather than a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ). Carrying a cross (a God-given burden / assignment) in this life’s journey was never meant to be easy. Jesus carried the heaviest cross of all time for it was weighted down with all of our sins (past, present and future) – His was a cross that only HE could carry (1 John 2:2). No matter what size cross which God gives each of us to carry, know that we are to carry it in His strength and for His glory and honor which promises to serve as a witness for Him before a watching world (1 Chronicles 16:28-29). Chris Tiegreen writes in The One Year at HIS feet devotional that, “We are not allowed to fit God’s mission in and around our …(own) priorities. We may choose safety or Christ, but not both. We may pursue the American dream or the kingdom of God, but not both. We may ‘give up everything’ (Luke 14:33) or not give up (anything), but not both. Christ compels us to choose.” (pp. 82) A great quote from Jim Elliott, an evangelical Christian missionary to Ecuador who, along with four others, was brutally killed (martyred) while attempting to evangelize the Waodani people, helps us ‘see’ the heart of a servant who was fully committed / surrendered to ‘shouldering his cross and following Christ,’ “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." Matthew 16:26 states this truth similarly, “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (NLT) Today, take a few moments and examine the cross which He has assigned you to carry. Are you trying to carry it on your own strength, or on His strength? The choice in your response will reveal who you are following, SELF or the SAVIOR and who the world is seeing in your witness, YOU or CHRIST JESUS? …Selah!
Today's Spirit-led video is by CCM artists Clay Crosse, Bob Carlisle and BeBe Winans can be viewed by clicking on the on the song title, "I Will Follow Christ" - G3 for God's beautiful and spirit-filled gift of ministry thru Christian music!