When You Don’t Want a Cross-Carrying Kind of Faith

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Jesus said His followers must pick up their cross and follow Him, but what if you don't want a cross-carrying kind of faith. Then what? Here's help...

Then He [Jesus] called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. Mark 8:34–35

That verse used to terrify me. I don’t know about you but I don’t want any part of cross-carrying. I want safe, calm, comfortable, secure . . . peace.

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday—the beginning of Lent. For the next six and a half weeks followers of Jesus will fast, pray, and ponder His journey to the cross.

And Jesus called His followers to deny themselves, carry their cross, trust and obey . . . lose their safe and secure for Him.

Have you ever wondered, maybe even worried about cross-carrying?


Worry is Simply Lack of Faith

I knew I was a fear-filled worrier. My doctor has described me as “high strung and anxious.” Seriously, I’ve had times when I turned worry into an art form. But really . . . look around. Have you seen all the truly terrible things that could happen?

Truthfully, I didn’t want to admit that my worry was really lack of faith. I wanted to think I was in control. If I worried or “thought something through” I could control the outcome. I could keep things safe. Peaceful.

But that isn’t the only verse that says life lived as a follower of Jesus may include crosses.

But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” Acts 9:15–16

For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in His steps. 1 Peter 2:21

 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. Matthew 10:38

But the truth I’ve learned is that if God allows a cross, He gives everything needed to carry it. Everything.

Giving Up Fear for Faith

“I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith . . . I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

It’s true. There will be trials and sorrows. Worry doesn’t prevent it. Fear won’t keep it away.

I know. All my worry didn’t prevent hard and messy, but…

It’s a small yet important word, isn’t it?

“You will have trials and sorrows. But take heart, because.

Take heart [don’t lose your faith], because…

I have overcome the world
I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.
Be sure of this: I am with you always.

Through every hard day Jesus was faithful, and because of His faithfulness my faith grew. Faith slowly became greater than fear.

My faith diminished when I focused on my fears, but grew when I kept my eyes on Jesus.

Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1–2

Faith focused on Jesus has everything it needs for cross-carrying. And in this life cross carrying will happen.

I think that’s what Jesus meant when He asked us to pick up our cross. He was calling us to LIVE. Because life includes hard days and messes. Life includes crosses. And all the worrying in the world won’t change that.

So, pick up your cross. LIVE. And trust God to give you everything you need to carry your cross.

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  1. Debbie M. says:

    Life is hard! If we are lucky, we will have seasons where we think we are exempt to the trials. I had a pastor that would always say, “We are either headed into trouble or coming out of trouble.” Bottom line, we need God and faith every day! Thanks for the message that Jesus will always be an overcomer in our lives.

    1. I like that Debbie. It’s true . . . into or out of trouble. Some by our own making, some not. What a blessing to know and love Jesus who is able to carry us and our troubles. Blessings!

  2. Fear is the great crippler of our spiritual life if we let it creep in and get under our skin. How marvelous it is to know, and believe with all our hearts, that Jesus has overcome the world and that we, God’s children, have nothing ultimately to fear.
    Blessings, Deb!

    1. Amen Martha! Something I wish I’d taken to heart years ago. Blessings to you!

  3. Oh Deb! I can so relate! I am a worrier and am anxious by birth, and it’s hard when God calls us to more. He calls us to lie with bold faith, abandoned to His plan, and to lay that worry down at His feet. While it’s daunting and a little scary, when I finally let go of my anxiety, only then can experience true peace. Thanks for opening your heart to us! I’m sharing this gem today!

    1. Thank you so much Sarah Ann! Giving everything to the Lord, realizing how much He has carried me through is indescribable peace. Something I will never take for granted. Giving Him the glory!!

  4. never been one to worry too much. Like all people upon occasion I allow concerns to build until I have to turn them over to the Father. Then I give myself a head slap and say, “Shoulda done that a whole lot sooner.”

    1. Those head slaps are sometimes long in coming, but I’m getting better at it. 🙂 By His grace I’m reminded to simply trust and follow. Blessings to you!

  5. HI Deb! I think you have some hard-won wisdom there. When I am focusing on my problems, it really is impossible to have anything but rampant fear. What can address my fears?

    Looking up instead of in my navel is difficult for me, but I have encouragement from you! If I can just remember who is my leader and Lord, I will find peace. Thank you!

  6. Oh yes, that fear can get in the way. It’s amazing how many times fear is addressed in scripture;..so we’re not alone in our battles on this front. Blessings friend.

  7. Hebrews is one of my favorite books of the Bible, I soak up the encouragement and faith nuggets waiting for us. I love the beginning of that verse, too. Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses… urging us on. CHEERING for us. Reminding us that it is ok.. keep going, there is a finish line, there is a victory, just .keep. going. Keep picking up the cross and walking towards that line because He is walking with you in every single step helping you carry that cross.

    Praying for you today, Deb!

  8. Wonderful post & I am so grateful to have read it this morning. What I love in that Scripture is how Jesus validates our fear by agreeing life will be difficult. {{But}} He does not leave us in our helpless estate. He provides the antidote to fear – “I have overcome. I am with you. Always.” Such an encouraging word for today. Blessings!

  9. He has overcome and will never fail us. Jesus will never abandon us! What comfort to know this truth.

    visiting from Grace & Truth Linkup

  10. Beth miller says:

    Love this post, especially this quote, \\\”Faith that was impossible when I focused on my fears, but grew when I kept my eyes on Jesus\\\”…many blessings to you ❤️

  11. Thank you, Deb, for sharing such truth. I like easy. I can do easy. But you’re right–trials come anyway and God is true to his word that He is there and can be trusted.

  12. Oh, this is so me, Deb. I never recognized my tendency to be anxious until I hit 30 and life and ministry and everything out of my control just slammed me. This has been a season of learning to trust God – those words seem so cliche, but I know you must know what I really mean. Thank you for this reminder of the power of Jesus and His presence that will never leave me.
    He is for us, and He is victorious.
    Thank you, Deb!!