Summary: What are we projecting to other people about our service to the Lord if we are complaining about it instead of having fun while we are doing it? We get hung up when people in the world try to trip us up and slow down our walk to a crawl.

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Take Up your cross

Matthew 16:24-27

Years ago I remember hearing a radio broadcast of Dr. James Dobson from Focus on the Family. He was retelling a story about his son Ryan who was about three years old at the time. Little Ryan had gotten up early one morning before his Dad and Mom. He managed to climb up onto the kitchen counter using the drawers as steps. Once on the counter little Ryan found his favorite cereal box and began to turn to make his way back down. That’s when his pajamas got caught on the handle of the cupboard behind him.

He stepped away to go and the cupboard door swung open and suddenly little Ryan was suspended in mid-air hanging from the cupboard. His feet dangled unable to get a foothold on the counter below. Dr. Dobson recalls being woken up to the sound of Ryan’s voice as he heard his young son shouting “somebody help the boy.”

This illustration may help us to see ourselves as Jesus invites us to carry our cross and follow him.

Some of us start out to do exactly what Jesus calls us to. To take up our cross and follow Him. But often we try walking in our own strength and we use our own plan. Then to our surprise we get hung up like little Ryan suspended in mid-air not knowing how our feet have been taken from under us.

We get hung up with the message of the Gospel when we think that it is something beyond our ability to communicate. “I try to live for the Lord” – people who go to church say. Or they say I let my life speak about Jesus.” O.K. I get that but what about your words? What is it that your mouth speaks about Jesus? If you were accused of being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?

We get hung up by the weight of the cross we are called to carry.

People say well I’d go to the Bible Study but I just can’t seem to fit it in. Or they say I’d go to the morning service but that Pastor just goes on too long. When I complain about the cross that Jesus has called me to carry my wife reminds me… “Was Jesus too tired to die on the cross for you that Friday”?

Saints we cannot out give the Lord. Just like you I get hung up. I thought I could serve two churches so I applied for the position. No one from Union Baptist called me or told me about it. I just decided I would do it, I would try it. I got hung up all on my own and the cross I tried to carry took my feet from under me.

We get hung up when the perception of others slow us down.

Maybe you have friends who say…”why do you do all that Jesus stuff anyway?” – you always seem to be doing something at the church” “look at me I make Sunday my day, I go fishing or golfing - let your hair down once in awhile – have some fun.”

What are we projecting to other people about our service to the Lord if we are complaining about it instead of having fun while we are doing it? We get hung up when people in the world try to trip us up and slow down our walk to a crawl. I know that you know Christians like that, “I’m going to get back to church one day soon”… they say “I’m just not convicted yet about how I’m living.” Sadly even backsliding Christians forget that our God holds their next breath in His hands.

Tomorrow is not promised… Tomorrow may not come in time for you to come to God when you’re good and ready. You can’t come to God on your own terms you have to come to God on His terms. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and broken and contrite heart.

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

You need to come to Jesus today friend not next year or the year after that. These kind of people are all around us they are the same kind of people that lined the street the day Jesus walked down it carrying a cross for them.

Jesus calls us to lay down our old lives as a sacrifice for God and to take up the cross that is our new life in Christ. That new life is about self-sacrifice and self-denial. It’s about the mission of God that Jesus has called you to. That mission may not be vocational. Jesus may not have called you to be a Minister or a Missionary or an Evangelist. But He has called you intentionally to experience what He endured, to know the effort of the steps that He took. To carry what you must and to do so publicly even though those around you ridicule and mock you.

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