Any of the crowd still hanging around after the hate your family and your own life comment, now get blasted again.
“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
Cross bearing does not sound like a good time. That being the case, people have tried desperately to get themselves out of this duty. Here are the top three ways people use to dump their cross:
1) Trivialize the cross
“My arthritic knee is just my cross to bear.” “My wife is my cross I have to bear.” No they aren’t. Crosses are much worse than arthritis and wives, even worse than arthritic wives, in fact. Crosses are weapons of torture that kill people. Jesus is saying that following Him means you’ll die. Period. No other meaning is intended here.
2) Spiritualize the cross
“Ah, but Jesus took my cross for me!” Nice try. Jesus took His cross and to some degree I suppose this statement hints at truth, but Christ’s cross does not eliminate yours; it necessitates yours. We are crucified with Him and this means we need to put to death the deeds of the flesh, lay our bodies down as a living sacrifice, die daily and many other death-heavy metaphors. Death is a major facet of Christian living!
3) Redefine “disciples”
I’ve tackled this issue in the past. Many think that “disciples” either refers to just Christ’s actual 12 disciples or it refers to some sort of super-believer. “Disciple” is a pretty generic term meaning “student.” Not all disciples are believers (Judas is example one but other examples exist like a group of others that refused to walk with Christ further). Don’t look for a loophole on the word “disciple.” This smacks of “And who is my neighbor?”
Christ’s cross requires us to take a cross. As Paul says, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Christ’s cross means I am dead to the world, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God. There is no sanctification without death to self.
This reckoning deal is the day by day decision to die to my worldly desires and come alive to serving righteousness. Christ’s cross may mean you die physically. You may be faced with “deny Christ or die.” You won’t die for Him in that moment if you haven’t already begun dying to this world all ready. Like Paul we are “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.”
Your flesh doesn’t want to die. Christ wants it to. Who wins?