Chocolate? Facebook? Sugar? _________?
Depending upon what you’re giving up, six and a half weeks can seem like a long time.
I don’t give up; I add.
I add extra devotional reading.
This year – On Calvary’s Hill by Max Lucado and The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.
I’m adding one more thing…
Prayer and time reflecting on the following verse:
Then He [Jesus] said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23
In tomorrow’s post I’ll tell you why this verse was admittedly hard for me. Friday, I will begin to tell you what it means to me. And over the next weeks I will share stories of people who inspire me by obediently following Jesus through cross-carrying.
If you’re like me, you’d prefer a life of comfort, peace, and contentment. You may believe those things are found in financial security, a successful career, and perfect relationships. The problem is each of those things are very fragile. No matter how frantically we chase and fight to achieve and maintain our dreams, troubles are inevitable.
Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” John 16:33
[Tweet “Not you might, or it’s possible, or if you’re “unlucky” but simply “you will.” “]
One of our pastors used to say, “I know each of you and everyone has problems. Don’t look around and think anyone has a perfect life. Everyone is fighting hard battles.”
How to Take Your Troubles to the Cross
1. Pick them up – Admit your troubles. Denial, running, or avoiding will never help. Look at the mountain of trouble and face it.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. Psalm 34:18–19
2. Walk with a friend – Share your story. You don’t have to spill every painful detail. Remember we don’t know the specifics of Paul’s “thorn.” But when we carry one another’s burdens we share His love and strength.
Help each other in troubles and problems. This is the kind of law Christ asks us to obey. Galatians 6:2
3. Look at the cross – Keep your focus Jesus—God’s amazing grace and love. His willingness to live, suffer, die, and rise again to show us His forgiveness and love. Who truly give us everything we need to follow Him to the foot of the cross where we can lay down any problem or pain.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
Quotes for the Foot of the Cross
“To know the Cross is not merely to know our own sufferings. For the Cross is the sign of salvation, and no man is saved by his own sufferings. To know the Cross is to know that we are saved by the sufferings of Christ; more, it is to know the love of Christ Who underwent suffering and death in order to save us. It is, then, to know Christ.” ~Thomas Merton
“Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is here, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.” ~John Stott
I’m praying you will join me this cross-carrying journey to the foot of the cross where we are invited to rest our burdens, share His love, and know His blessings.