Luke 14:27 Whoever does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
We live in a cross-less society, where people are not willing to carry their own burdens or endure any trouble. Even some Christians want their faith to be light, worry-free, and non-challenging to their life-style choices. It’s as if we’re saying to Christ and His first disciples, “that cross carrying stuff is old-fashioned. We want to emerge as new Christians, who are free to reject what we don’t like of the old ways and re-invent our faith. We want it all to be light and fluffy, likeable and popular. We don’t want to carry nasty crosses anymore.”
The trouble is this: when we do that, we’ve become a New Age religion and no longer cross-carrying Christians. We want our faith to be convenient instead of persistent. We want it to be experienced on our terms instead of Christ’s. Rather than place Christ at the center of all things, we want Him to be focused on us. We want Jesus to like us and love us, laugh with us and live with us, instead of confronting and challenging us, or converting and changing us.
Sometimes I wish that Jesus had never said things like ‘anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.’ I wish that He had uttered something like ‘disregard your crosses, have fun with Me, and you can be My friends.’ But He didn’t. Christ knew that life was hard and that in every generation Christians will be faced with two choices: to throw off their crosses and go their own way, or to wearily pick up their heavy burden and plod on, following Jesus all through life.
Having faith in Jesus is never going to be easy, but one day we will get to lay our crosses at His feet and enjoy His peace forever. But if we want it all now, we will never experience that everlasting joy and peace.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes we want to give up being Christians and just fall into line with the rest of the world. It would be a whole lot easier just to ignore Your words and to go our own way. Instead of feeling guilty, we would be unburdened and could live our lives free from any commitment, challenge, or change. But You have called us to carry our crosses, to endure the world’s dislike, and to experience the cost of faith. It isn’t an easy path to follow, but we pray that You will enable and empower us to keep on going, so that we may emerge as real Christians and not phony disciples. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s’ message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.