“ And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
How many times have I read this scripture, seen it splashed on farmhouse décor, coffee mugs, and shirts, and never really stopped to think about it. I had assumed it meant take up your daily burden and cares of life and follow Christ. I also assumed it mean denying the flesh and choosing Him.
But, recently, sitting in a church service listening to my father preach the Word of God, he said two sentences that, in a peculiar and curious way, seemed to transform this scripture into so much more than some careless thought. It brought out the scripture in such a real, tangible way that it allowed me to see my past experiences and present ones in a whole new light.
My father had read this scripture, and he honestly was using it to reference another whole topic, and then just after he said this, he said “Our will crosses God’s will” and he made an X with his arms. As he went on into further detail of his message, I couldn’t stop dwelling on what I had just heard. To me, his two simple statements had presented this scripture and its meaning in a brand new way I had never consciously heard before. My revelation was this:
What if taking up our cross isn’t about bearing the weights of life as we follow Jesus? What if it so simply, yet so majestically, means to take up our will off of God’s will? Imagine what a cross looks like: two intersecting lines. For us to take up our cross, we must take up our will from off of God’s will because our natural, instinctive will is always against God’s. Remove the top line and now you have a single straight line: God’s will.
My dad uses the following scripture to talk about things we go through in life:
Song of Solomon 2:9
“My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.”
He describes the lattice as tiny crosses that when we look between them we see a picture of Christ there every time we go through something. And I began to wonder with this new train of thought that, perhaps the Lord wouldn’t have to show himself through the lattice if we learned to trust Him so that our will never crosses His?
It’s amazing how the Lord will open our eyes to little truths that help build faith and trust in Him.
So Lord, my prayer is this: help me to follow after you, denying what my natural self wants, taking up my will from trying to hold Yours down, and every day pursue Your will.