In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The cross I never expected

If you've been a Christian for any amount of time, you're familiar with the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 16:24-25 (NIV):

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Another thing you'll have noticed, if you've been a Christian for awhile, is that we often come to see scripture through the lens of our experience and sometimes that even means through our "religion". That's not always bad but sometimes it can be limiting. An example in point is this scripture; I've always read it to mean that I need to not put myself first and deal with whatever comes my way, that bad stuff just happens and that the bad or difficult stuff in life must be my cross.

But today the following excerpt from Brennan Manning's book "The Ragamuffin Gospel" captivated my heart and mind:

"Many of us are too haunted by our failure to have done with our lives what we longed to accomplish. The disparity between our ideal self and our real self, the grim specter of past infidelities, the awareness that I am not living what I believe, the relentless pressure of conformity, and the nostalgia for lost innocence reinforces a nagging sense of existential guilt: I have failed. This is the cross we never expected, the one we find hardest to bear."

I could relate to this only too well.

It's not so much the tough stuff in life that is my cross as my own failures. This view makes God's grace even more paramount.

The gospel is a God who sees me, just like in the story of the prodigal son when the father saw his son coming home while he was still far off, and rushes out to meet me. Not to cross examine me, lecture me or insist on a high motivation on my part; but to take me back just as I am and to love me.

What have you come to learn about taking up your cross and following Christ?

3 comments:

AngelBaby said...

Beautiful post, I really enjoyed reading it. I think if more of us could live our lives as Jesus did the world would be a wonderful place.

Have a wonderful day.

Love and Blessings,
AngelBaby

santhy said...

God bless you!

Bill (cycleguy) said...

Tracy: good thoughts. I think my biggest cross is a feeling of failure that creeps in occasionally. I need to not worry about what others will think and whether what I do will be considered "successful" in the eyes of others. I need to follow no matter what it may cost.

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