Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.
I like to study teachings of the cross. Cross words are hard words. They awe me, challenge me, and scare me. What do these 'cross' scriptures mean? Is our 'cross' a burden, like a tough job, a sick relative, or something we know is right but dread to do? Maybe it's breaking free of an addiction. It surely means preaching the Gospel at all costs... or going into a mission field. What if it actually means death in the process?
But I was missing something. God's Word promises us a rich and fruitful life in the here and now. As we walk in love, persevere through challenges, and help others, we become walking, talking testimonies of the hope and salvation available in Jesus Christ. Even more, Jesus provided the final blood sacrifice for the sins of all mankind through the gift of His death. So how does the cross part fit with the promise part?
I believe our cross is our duty: our unique calling, the path God intends us to walk. For Jesus, it was the Via Dolorosa to Calvary. For me, it's a company called Actors, Models & Talent for Christ. For you, it may be a path into the entertainment industry--an industry of enormous influence where one fallen star's bad example can harm countless followers. It's also a place where one football player's scripture-tattooed face can save millions. God's movement in this field has begun.
But here's the harder part: our cross is a duty we must be willing to carry unto death. We can't 'die' as actors, can we? Being willing to die means being willing to risk it all. Therefore, when God calls us to duty in the field of entertainment, we risk rejection, humiliation, and failure. We endure hardship away from home, dream-haters, and worldly temptations to obtain the victory. We cannot quit. God writes the conclusion, and He promises success.
Take heart in knowing that God will never let you truly die; you will never stay down. For Christ followers, death or failure is just a door. Victory is on the other side. God's perfect plan prevails whether He carries you through that door or simply wants to know that you are willing.
Therefore, do not fear the cross. Cherish it.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Enemies and Friends To Success series.