There are many moments in my life that I have actually said, “I wish I could go back and do school over.” In our youth we are often so focused on getting done with school and being adult, that we scurry through the study. We use our young sharp minds to memorize just enough to pass the test. I actually remember telling my parents they were so lucky that all they had to do was work. I had to go to school all day and then come home and do homework. I don’t know what kind of rose- colored glasses I wore, but their lives looked much more desirable than mine.
I can’t believe I just admitted that. I really said it and I think I can still recall my parent’s laughter. I think I even hear you joining in on the laughter, but before you get carried away, it is my guess that you had some of the same youthful thinking. It seems that this foolish thinking wasn’t left in the past, because we continue to be driven to a life of hurry through the tough stuff and get on to the good life. The role of teacher seems to be more desirable than student. We search for the eraser tying to the delete words like difficult, discomfort, suffer, pain, and sacrifice.
But Jesus spoke of a different life than what our fleshy selves crave. Modern Christianity has dismissed it, but it is still there in Luke 9:23:
Jesus said to them all,
“If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].
If anyone wishes to follow Me as My disciple…(It is a choice!)
Take up cross daily!
In today’s culture, “take up your cross” looks nothing like what Jesus communicated. We take it to mean clasping a shiny cross around our neck, hanging a cross over the fireplace, or even having one tattooed somewhere on our body. We want no real understanding of “take up your cross”. Those that heard Jesus speak this word knew that the cross represented the cruelest form of death. Yes, Death.
No Cliff notes are needed here. He clearly told us what was expected. We just continue to follow, deny, die, follow, deny, die, follow, deny, and die.
My heart is encouraged because I believe His word teaches that everything that He commands of us, He accomplishes for us. So each new day, I surrender to Him and His plan. I answer as a surrendered disciple following my Lord. I embrace the difficult, the painful, the suffering, because I know that in this place, He brings His life.
I am coming to understand that this is truly the most wonderful life. Every time I embrace the pain, the hard, the dying, I am more like Christ and I share in His suffering. I am becoming an empty vessel, a dead shell, for Him to live His life through. This requires daily emptying of me and my ways to embrace Him and His ways. I am being prepared to live all eternity with Him. Until I graduate to Heaven, I want to get the schooling here in this life. I don’t want to resent the hard. I don’t want to hurry past the difficult. I want to pass the test for being a true follower of Jesus Christ.
“Lord, please use all the pain and struggle in life for your glory. I can’t do on my own what you require, so I relinquish toYour control to do it through me. “