1998-01-23 - Jesus' Difficult Teachings
Difficult Teachings of Jesus, Part 2
We want to follow Jesus. We want to be loving. We want to help people. But do we want to follow Him to the point of carrying our cross? Crosses are not fun. Crosses are heavy. Crosses are rough. Crosses have splinters. Crosses mean death, sometimes literally and sometimes death to ourselves.
(Mat 10:38 NNAS) And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
But Jesus doesn't mince words here. If we wish to please Him, we must be willing to take up our cross. It may be a difficult family member. It may be a terminal or chronic illness. It may be a sacrifice of some sort. Oh it's okay to ask God to remove it. Even Jesus did that. The first part of Matthew 26:39 (NRSV)describes it.
And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me;
But the last part of the verse is crucial also. Like Jesus we must be willing to let God have His way.
yet not what I want but what you want.
God can use our crosses, to teach us, to strengthen us, to mature us spiritually. Some of the spiritual giants that you know, would not be that way had it not been for a cross they bore. A good friend of mine was betrayed by a relative. That relative nearly ruined his reputation as well as nearly bankrupted him financially. But instead of giving into bitterness, my friend let God use it as a stepping stone which turned him toward dependence on God. If you are dealing with a cross today, ask God to help you carry it in a way that honors Him - without grumbling, which is not pleasing to God. Instead ask Him to help you learn and grow because of it.