Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
And He, bearing His Cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull...
From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
To many Christians, carrying a cross* is nothing more than pretty jewelry and going to church on Sunday mornings: hanging out with mostly friendly people-- who say and do mostly positive things.
To early Christians, carrying a cross meant a gruesome, humiliating death after fully surrendering to Christ. Hanging out was what their sinless King did, and His followers faced similar risks.
I know this subject is hard to discuss for several hard to bear certainties:
* We want to believe the best of our kin: smiling people who say they love Jesus. We don't know their hearts, and we can't judge them. All true, but we can be their examples.
* Who wants to endure a tortuous death? No one, but eleven apostles did.** Surely countless other saints were martyred. Even now, Christians are hunted and killed.***
* We must be willing to die for our faith. Willingness doesn't always bring abuse, but if and when a time comes to stand up, we must confess our Lord-- no matter what.
* Day by day, we work on dying to self-- by not considering our welfare first. Selfishness is seen in self-indulgence and modeling unChristlike behaviors.
One way I translate carrying my cross is following my duty unto death:
To prioritize the Great Commission,
To avoid 'easy' and 'normal' ways to live,
To walk the straight, narrow and harder path.
## Bearing A Cross (Part 15)
*Excellent article, What did Jesus mean when He said, 'Take up your cross and follow Me'?
** One of many articles on how the apostles died:
*** Open Doors is a charity to persecuted Christians:
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Bearing series.