Summary: What does it really mean when we say, "That is my cross to bear." Most people refer to it as a hardship of some kind in their life but bearing our cross in reality is the Christian life, or it should be,
“Bearing Our Cross”
Everyone wants their children to have it better than they had it don’t they?
We live in a society that is devoted to the concept of making life as simple and easy as we possibly can.
The computer age has taken over basically every aspect of the world.
Almost everything we used to do by hand is now done by a computer, isn’t it?
Illustration: Talents are obsolete. The ability to play an instrument and form a band has been placed by DJ's who play music from a computer. The ability to create art has been replaced by vinyl made by a computer.
Everything we do we want to do as easy as we can so when people read out text Scripture they sort of cringe or shy away.
Mark 8: 34-35 "Then Jesus called the crowd to Him along with His disciples & said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself & take up his cross & follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me & for the gospel will save it.’"
I know we have all heard this Scripture before but have you ever taken the time to consider what Jesus is saying?
When he talks about us denying ourselves, & taking up a cross & following Him – what does that mean?
Well, we’re going to talk about that in just a few moments. But before we do, I believe that we ought to realize two things about Jesus.
First of all, Jesus never tries to bribe us by the offer of an easy life.
Nowhere in God’s Word do we read how Jesus tries to buy your decision by offering elaborate things.
Jesus never sought to lure people to Him by the offer of an easy way. He came not to make life easy, but to make people great.
Secondly, Jesus never calls upon us to do anything that He was not prepared to do Himself.
What He asks us to face, He has already faced. And when He calls upon us to take up a cross, He, Himself, has already borne one for us.
That goes against the grain of what the world teaches, for the world teaches that success is measured by how much wealth we hold, by how convenient & easy our lives are.
And anything that bothers us or becomes difficult, we should avoid.
Sadly, some churches seem to have adopted that attitude.
Some churches are advertised as places offering all kinds of fringe benefits to their members.
And many people go shopping for the church that seems to offer them the most.
That’s the way the world has conditioned us to think - everybody ought to cater to us, & all our wants & desires ought to be met.
And when that doesn’t happen, we become unhappy.
And yet, the words of Jesus are still there, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself & take up his cross & follow me."
What did He mean? What does it mean to "take up" or "bear a cross”? What does it mean when someone says, "I want to take up my cross & follow Jesus?" What does the Bible teach about "cross-bearing?"
I. CROSS-BEARING IS ALWAYS VOLUNTARY
First of all, the Bible tells us that "taking up a cross" is voluntary. Jesus calls us, & challenges us, but it is our decision. Taking up a cross & following Jesus is voluntary.
I’m afraid that generally we’re pretty careless in the way we talk about our “cross-bearing.”
For example, suppose that after extensive testing the doctor tells me, "I’m sorry, but you have diabetes, & you’ll have to deal with it for the rest of your life." Now that may be a burden that I must bear, but it is not a cross I have taken up for Jesus. So I can’t then tell others, "Well, that’s my cross to bear," because I didn’t volunteer for it.
Or if a tornado sweeps through Vincennes & destroys my home, I can’t call it "a cross I have to bear," because I didn’t volunteer for that either. It is not something that I chose to do for Jesus.
Or if I loose a loved on and suffer grief, that is not a cross. It may be a heavy burden, but it is not a cross that I am bearing for Jesus.
You see, if I talk about bearing a cross, that means I am voluntarily taking it up for Jesus. I’m going to enlist, to offer myself in some way to serve Jesus.
II. CROSS-BEARING IS AN ACT OF LOVE
So, cross-bearing is not an accident that happens to us, or something unavoidable that we must face.