Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Recognition, part 8: The Daily Cross

And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (Luke 9:23 NASB)

The word translated as "daily" is hēmera, and is used to indicate a period of time. It can, as the translation here, indicate a day, but it is translated elsewhere as a lifetime. Perhaps both translations are pertinent. Following Jesus requires that we deny ourselves and pick up our cross, our destiny, that way in which we make the most impact for Christ. 

It is all too common to pick up our cross once or twice, find it difficult, then lay it down again. Jesus, however, was clear. Taking up our cross is to be a daily act of submission to Him. It is to be an act of  hēmera, of daily surrender every day for the rest of our lives. That "every day for the rest of our lives" seems a little overwhelming doesn't it? We have a tendency to think, "No one does anything 'for the rest of their life'!" That, of course is not true. We awaken, have a cup of coffee, bathe, get dressed, eat a meal, go to work. What we do on a daily basis becomes so routine that, in a way, it is nearly effortless, or at least much easier. 

When we take up our cross daily, it eventually becomes our "routine", as well. It becomes a part of us, and we miss that surrender when we omit it. If you fail to eat breakfast before leaving for work, you notice it. In much the same way, omitting Christ from your day can become just as noticeable, just as uncomfortable.  Omitting Christ from our day should be not only uncomfortable, it should become unbearable. 

It is when we make this taking up of the cross a daily part of our lives that we can enjoy the sweet fellowship with our Lord that He intended. It is only in the denying of self and taking up of our cross that we become true followers of Christ. Our Lord did not say we could take up our cross if it was convenient or if we wanted to do it. He was clear. If we want to follow Him, then we will take up our cross, and we will take it up daily. It is not optional. 

As we begin our day, may be be so eager to follow Him that we willingly take up the cross, knowing that we do not bear it alone and that it brings the sweetness of communion with our Lord, all along the way.