Running today I wish I had some magical sun set to ponder on, or uphill battle I conquered with great words of wisdom to share. I don’t. Today, I just ran. Wasn’t really hard, wasn’t really fun, just did it. The only words that kept coming to mind were lyrics to a song that said, “I take up my cross and run to you.” Not exactly the encouraging light-hearted words I was wanting, but they did seem fitting since I WAS running. After mulling it over today, I was left with this….
What exactly does it mean to pick up my cross and follow Jesus? Where is that exactly in the scriptures or is it just a catchy phrase to quote? Does carrying my cross simply mean each day picking up (embracing) my plate of life with its strengths and weakness together and just walking? The image comes to mind of life with preschoolers. Before heading out the door, we moms grab the diaper bag, purse, water bottles, last minute snacks and a change of clothes for our kids (and us!). Picking up the bags and placing them on one shoulder plus our child on the opposite hip, we exit the house.
I found the passage in Luke 14:27 and again in Matthew 10:37. The Luke verse goes like this, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” The passage goes on to describe someone who set out to build a tower. Will that person not sit down with pen and paper and estimate how much it will cost before building? He needs to make sure he’s saved enough money. Otherwise, he’ll get half-way through and realize he can’t afford to finish! Then everyone who sees the half built structure will laugh at him!
So in the same way, I am to evaluate whether or not I’m willing to surrender it all. Because if I say I’m a follower of Jesus, yet get half way through life and realize I’m not willing to go any further, this requires too much of me, Jesus says, I’m not really his disciple. (see Luke 14:33) Ouch! But this cross to too heavy for me! Why do I have to carry it? Doesn’t Jesus say something about His burdens being light?
Yes He does. Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” But it doesn’t stop there. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (11:29-30) Instead of exercising our physical muscles to handle the load, we are to “yoke” our self to Christ, learn from Him, THEN we experience rest and light burdens. Ahhh.
The other verse running through my head as I process carrying my cross is 2 Corinthians 4:7-12: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed , but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
In the notes at the bottom of my bible, it says this, “ Once again, human weakness provides the occasion for the triumph of divine power, and daily ‘dying’ magnifies the wonder of daily resurrection life.” Boy that goes against what culture will tell us! An oxymoron of the faith…when we are weak THEN we are strong.
Take up our cross. Follow Him. He is sufficient for all of me. Sometimes it’s following Him through beautiful sun rises and sets. Sometimes it’s fun and exciting. There’s metals and parties. Sometimes, it’s hard and painful. Even other times, it’s just a run, an act of obedience. But through it all, it’s a course worth running!
About a Mile “Satisfied”: