Taking Up My Cross
After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.
Acts of the Apostles 14:21-22 NLT
Suffering was an expectant part of being a follower of Christ in New Testament times. Paul and Barnabas did not invite people to become followers of Jesus so He could take away all their pain and solve all their problems. Quite the contrary. From the beginning of the Church, the believers understood what Jesus meant when He said we were to take up our cross daily and follow Him.
It seems to me we have tried to sell a cross-less Christianity. No suffering. No pain. No self-discipline. No self-denial. Instead, God is the “Santa Claus in the sky” to fulfill all my dreams.
Maybe that is why the Church is struggling in this society. There is no cost attached to following Jesus.
I do believe God loves us and wants the best for us. But the best for us may involve some sacrifice, hard work, self-denial, and persevering when others give up. The best things in life don’t come cheap.
Paul and Barnabas preached this gospel and also lived it. They sacrificed and suffered so the gospel could spread to the known world. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that many American Christians even know what sacrifice is.
Holy Spirit, I want to be willing to follow You wherever You lead me. I choose to take up the cross and follow You—today and every day.
Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying to you based on today’s reading.