Written By Desiree U. Angeles, Philippines
As a Christian, I know it is important to attend church on Sundays, as God has commanded us in his Word: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
But having to go to church every Sunday often feels like an obligation for me, having to studying full-time and work almost every evening.
When I first read Jesus’ words in Luke 14:27 about carrying our cross, I could immediately identify one example of what this “cross” might refer to. For me, going to church is the “cross” I need to carry in order to be a true follower of Jesus, because given the extent of my daily commitments, it is a sacrifice on my part.
But the more I read the Word of God, the more I realize that it is only a small sacrifice compared to the many other things God wants us to do. He wants us to carry the cross in all aspects of our lives. In our relationships with others, God wants us to love difficult people, to be patient and to have a forgiving heart. When we are troubled by life’s problems, we are to rejoice and have hope (Romans 12:12), to trust in Christ (Mark 9:23), and to be strong and have courage (Isaiah 40:29-31).
God instructs us to not conform to this world (Romans 12:2), to do nothing out of selfish desires (Philippians 2:3-4), and to do everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Most importantly, we must love the Lord our God more than we love ourselves and anyone else (Mark 12:30). All of these things are part of the “cross” we need to carry in our everyday lives as followers of Christ.
It may not be easy to do all this. And if we regard these commands as burdensome obligations, we will never be able to carry out any of them.
On the other hand, if we trust in Jesus and the provision of the Holy Spirit, who abides in our hearts, we will be able to carry the cross, not out of mere obligation, but out of our genuine love for Him.
Are you willing to carry the cross?