Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Taking Up One's Cross Daily

I just received a question: “Have you a study on taking up one’s cross daily?”

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:23-27 NIV)

The paragraph is about dying. Better yet, it is about values and choices, dying being one of the choices based upon following Jesus.

“Take up your cross.” This is not some unbearable task, some thorn in the flesh or someone unpleasant, like a roommate we have to endure daily. The cross is an instrument of physical execution of a shameful kind like the electric chair, the gallows, or the guillotine. This is speaking of capital punishment that is voluntary. This is a willingness to die physically in shame for Jesus. We could get out of dying if we were ashamed of Jesus; however, we would lose our life by saving it.

I said it is about values and choices. What about “daily”? Since I did not die yesterday, I must get dressed with the instrument of my own execution again today and every day following.

Here are two parallel verses that will give additional light:

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted… (2 Timothy 3:12 NIV)

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:4 NIV)

The first verse talks about the desire to be godly. The second verse speaks of a desire to resist sin until our blood is shed.

Do we want to be godly so bad that we suffer persecution? Do we want to resist sin until we are killed for resisting sin? Do we want to be unashamed of Jesus?

Each morning (daily) we pray for grace to be godly, unashamed, and able to resist sin. Each morning this is the way we take up the cross.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

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