Carrying Your Cross

  • Feb. 4, 2013
  • #8026

In Luke 9, Jesus tells us to “take up the cross,” but what is that cross? Is it your painful disability or broken marriage? Listen to Joni as she takes a closer look at the meaning of our cross.

Welcome to "Joni and Friends" and to a closer look at Luke chapter 9.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and over the years the words of Jesus in Luke chapter 9 have inspired me to keep at it. Now I know when you hear this verse, you’ll think that’s odd; but, here, Jesus says:

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."

Now, there were many years, some of them really rather recent when I have looked at my wheelchair as my cross to bear. But is it? What exactly is the cross I am to take up daily? What about you? Is your cross your arthritis, a dead-end job? Is your cross to bear up under an unhappy marriage, or recurring migraine headaches? Are these the things the Lord had in mind when He told you and me to take up our cross daily and follow Him?

If we could better understand how our cross relates to the Lord's, then that would definitely shed meaning on the question. Because when He took up His cross, He was taking on the sins of the world; He was bearing our transgressions; He was willing to be nailed to the cross and die for our sins.

And so friend, following Jesus, taking up your cross, is all about dying to your sins. And I tell you, nothing reveals more quickly what needs to be changed at least in our heart than a wheelchair, for you maybe a bad marriage, or migraine headaches, arthritis or a walker. These are the difficult things that squeeze us and often what comes out of our mouth or what forms in our attitude is not very pretty: Complaining, grumbling, doubts, and fears of the future, selfishness. So you see, when we are invited to become like Jesus in His death we let that wheelchair or that marriage or those headaches to force us to leave behind sin. We die to the sins that He died for on His cross.

In other words, my cross to bear is not my wheelchair — it’s my rotten attitude about my wheelchair; it’s the fear and the anxiety, the anger I sometimes have when everything about my disability goes wrong at once. It’s the occasional doubts I have about God being in control. These are the things I must die to. Because these are the sins Christ died for. Therefore, when I take up my cross daily, I purpose to be like Jesus; I want to die to sin and live for God. I want to put behind me the fear, the worry — all of it — that my wheelchair often reveals.

And all this makes me grateful for my wheelchair, because how else would I know that I am, at heart, a fearful and worrisome person? Were it not for the wheelchair, the anger and doubting would stay hidden. So praise God for that wheelchair of mine. It’s the yoke that is easy; it is the burden that is light because it’s the cross that reveals my need of cleansing, forgiveness and restoration. When I get up in my wheelchair each morning, I am taking up the instrument of my sanctification; and for that, I am so thankful.

So friend, remember that your cross to bear is not your boring job, aching back, or irksome mother-in-law. Your cross to bear is your daily “putting to death” your attitude about your job, mother-in-law and aching muscles. And, hey, if you need help picking up your cross every morning, I’ve got a pamphlet called “A Thankful Heart in a World of Hurt.” I hope that you visit my radio page at joniandfriends.org and ask for your copy of “A Thankful Heart in a World of Hurt.”

© Joni and Friends

 

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