Daily Devotional 3-21-19

Cross-Carrying 
 
“Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
 
I am sure you are beginning to realize that Christianity in its pure and true form is not that easy.  In other words, Christianity is pricey. It will cost you a lot to live out your faith in Christ. Yes, I will say that again—it will cost you a lot to live out your faith in Christ.
 
To identify with Christ means to embrace a lifestyle of dying to yourself, the world, and accepting suffering for the sake of your Savior. This is so true because Christianity was birthed through the suffering, death, resurrection of Jesus, and the fulfillment of the promised Holy Spirit. The life of the apostles and the early church was acquainted with suffering. Members of the early Church had their fair share of suffering: they were thrown into prisons; they were arrested, and wild animals were released to kill and eat their bodies. Their crime was one: they loved Jesus, and would not worship the emperors or idols of their surrounding culture.
 
In a society that endeavors to eliminate suffering by creating and promoting a culture of comfort and convenience (and this is not wrong), Jesus’ invitation to Christian suffering sounds so unpopular. Many people cannot stand to be bothered by issues of life. We love to enjoy life in our own little castles, free from the hustles of life. However, the reality is that, if we are Christians, God calls us to a life beyond ourselves. He calls us to carry our own crosses on a daily basis. This means facing hardships and challenges for your loyalty to Christ. It means enduring the worst that man can do to us for the sake of being true to Christ. If you will not bow down to the idols of the surrounding culture for the sake of Christ, you must be ready to suffer socially, emotionally and psychologically. The world will always hate those are Christ followers, and that hatred is their cross.
 
Nevertheless, those who carry their crosses and even die for the sake of Christ shall inherit eternal life, but those who seek to preserve their life will lose it.
 
Can you stand to be hated in this culture for the sake of your allegiance to Christ?
 
Prayer: Lord Jesus, embolden me, strengthen my weak resolve, to carry my cross daily.
 
Reflection: In what ways have you been carrying or not carrying your cross?