THE WRONG CROSS TO TAKE UP DAILY￼
“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23 NKJV)
Today, many born-again believers are not true disciples or ardent followers of Christ because of their unwillingness to take up their cross daily.
You can’t obey and conform wholly to the Lord Jesus’ example daily without you taking up your cross daily.
Unless you take up your cross daily (reckoning yourself daily to be dead to sin, self and the world, but alive to God in Christ Jesus), all your efforts to walk in the Lord’s steps will only end in futility, failure, and frustration.
While many believers today are not willing to take up their cross daily, thereby not following the Lord or conforming to the Lord’s example; however, it is sad to see some believers who are willing to take up their cross daily picking up the wrong cross, thereby struggling to follow the Lord Jesus.
While a call to follow the Lord Jesus is essentially a call to take upon you the yoke of Christ, however, it is not every yoke that is the yoke of Christ. The yoke of Christ is easy, and His burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30)!
Sadly, many believers today are ignorantly bearing the wrong and heavy yoke or cross that the Lord has not called or given them to bear.
Taking up the wrong cross will ultimately exhaust, distract and discourage you from following the Lord Jesus. Therefore, you must know, understand or discern the cross to take up daily as you seek to follow the Lord.
In this piece, we shall examine what the cross is not, and in the following part, we shall discuss what the cross is.
First, the cross is not sickness, infirmity, or deformity:
The Lord Jesus has not given or called you to take up any form of sickness, infirmity, or deformity as your cross to follow Him. Why?
Because the Lord Jesus took all our infirmities and bore all our sicknesses in His body on the cross!
The Scripture states, “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” (Matt. 8:17 NKJV).
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isa. 53:5 NKJV).
Sicknesses, infirmities, and deformities are the works of the devil that Jesus came into the world to destroy through His sacrificial death on the cross (1 John 3:8).
Therefore, God will never put on you the sickness or infirmity that He sent His Son to come and destroy through His death on the cross.
On the contrary, the Lord has given His disciples the “power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.” (Matt. 10:1 NKJV).
The disciples of Jesus are called, empowered, and expected to heal all kinds of sickness and not bear them.
Mark 16:15-18 – NKJV
15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
17 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;
18 “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Second, the cross is not poverty, failure, oppression, or affliction:
God takes no pleasure in your poverty, lack, failure, suffering, barrenness, or stagnation in life. Instead, God takes delight in your prosperity, progress, success, fruitfulness, and good health.
The Scripture amply attests to this truth.
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 1:2 NKJV).
“Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause; and let them say continually, “Let the LORD be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.” (Psa. 35:27 NKJV).
Third, the cross is not marital, relationship, or family problems, crises, or challenges:
God delights in your joy, happiness, pleasures, and satisfaction (Psa. 16:11). God’s plan and promise to give you a happy and blessed home (Psa. 128:1-4). God wants you to live peaceably with all men.
The Scripture admonishes, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom. 12:18 NKJV).
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14 NKJV).
Therefore, God will not place any marital or relationship crisis upon you as a cross to bear to follow the Lord Jesus.
Suppose you are presently facing any challenge or crisis in your marriage or relationship. In that case, you need to take it up to God in prayer and seek divine wisdom, guidance, and instruction to resolve the crisis. You may also need to seek godly counsel from your pastor or a mature believer with a happy home.
Fourth, the cross is not a temperamental weakness or negative emotion:
As a new creation in Christ, you are now a partaker of the divine life and nature of God (2 Pet. 1:3, 1 John 3:9).
The Spirit of Christ now dwells in you. The fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) is always present in your born-again spirit. However, you may not constantly manifest the fruit in your will, mind, emotions, and actions because of your unrenewed mind (1 Cor. 6:17, Gal. 5:22-23, I John 4:17).
The Lord Jesus came to deliver you from every sinful habit, temperamental weakness, or negative emotion. Therefore, God cannot put on you any temperamental weakness as a cross to bear to follow the Lord Jesus.
If you are still struggling with any sinful habit or negative emotion, don’t explain it away or embrace it as your cross; instead, seek to grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus so that your mind may be renewed according to the truths of God’s Word and so that you may begin to experience and walk increasingly in the freedom that Christ has purchased for you and increasingly manifest the fruit of the Spirit (John 8:31-32, 2 Pet. 3:18).
Paul admonishes us to put off the deeds of the old man.
Colossians 3:8-10 – NKJV
8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.
Lastly, the cross is not the consequence of your past wrong decisions and actions:
The Lord Jesus Christ bore in His body on the cross our sins and all the penalties or consequences of our sins (1 Pet. 2:24).
Therefore, God does not command or expect any born-again believer to take up daily the penalty, consequence, or fruit of his sins as his cross to follow the Lord Jesus.
The Scripture teaches that God is not imputing our sins to us now, for Christ bore all our sins and the penalties of our sins in His own body on the cross.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 – NKJV
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Beloved, even though God is not presently imputing your sins to you or punishing you for your sins, it is still very dangerous to play with sins. Why?
Because sin will give the devil an inroad to your life!
Because sin opens the door to the devil to steal, kill, afflict, torment, oppress and destroy!
Therefore, if you sin, you will not only need to repent and receive by faith God’s mercy and forgiveness, you will also need to resist the devil and recover the grounds you have given the devil through your sins.
That is why Paul admonishes, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (Jam. 4:7 NKJV).
What then is the cross the Lord Jesus commands and expects you to take up daily to follow Him?
Find out in the next piece!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing me today the things that I should not bear, embrace, or endure daily as my cross. I reject and destroy today every yoke and work of the devil that I have embraced, endured, and tolerated in my life and family in the past as my cross, in Jesus’ name. Amen.