Daily Devotional ~ Take Up Your Cross
Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "I Know" by Big Daddy Weave. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
Daily Verse: Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
☆ Matthew 16:24-25 NLT
Let's Talk About It: For some reason, many of us think that when we decide to follow Jesus it will be some grand adventure in which we get all that our heart's desire, are blessed beyond imagine, and won't have to deal with grief, fear, or worry. While I believe God wants to bless us, that's not the point to following Jesus.
In order to truly follow Jesus, we have to let go of this world and all the ties that hold us to here. We live in this fallen land and while it may appear beautiful that which we see is nothing compared to the beauty we would see had sin never entered. And it is nothing compared to beauty that awaits us.
There was a rich man who was told to sell all his belongings and give everything he owned away if he wanted to be with Jesus. He went home that day and chose his possessions over Christ.
We are all putting something before the Lord most of the time, whether that be jobs, kids, meals, family time, our own goals, but Jesus says He is the way to find that which we seek most. This is not always easy. While we trust God is some areas, there may be others we struggle in.
I am starting to believe that the more suffering we endure, the more our lives begin to look like we're following Christ and the closer we become to understanding who it is we are following. His life was filled with difficulties, especially the last bit. If God expected Him to lay His life down, do we believe God expects less of us?
Additional Reading: Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
☆ James 1:12 NASB
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for today. Lord, if I'm being honest, it is not always easy to follow you. I find it especially difficult in today's world, then again, your Word shows me each generation has dealt with suffering and plight. Lord, I thank you that you fight my battles. I am so thankful that when things get difficult, and I feel like I can't go on, I can come to you and find rest. No matter what I face in following you, Lord Jesus, I understand that you go before me and have prepared my way. I believe that while it may not look how I pictured, you can make beauty from ashes and turn graves into gardens. Father, I thank you for touching every heart today, every single person, as there are so many needs. Help me shine your light. I love you Jesus and in your name I pray, amen.