Luke 9:23 “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
The beauty of a sunrise reveals the glory that another day has begun. Sometimes it is with sunshine, others with clouds or rain.
Often, we have days that met with much expectation. Gatherings long prepared for that finally arrive. Accomplishments of long, arduous work come to completion—the arrival of friends or family who brought close once again.
No matter, as each day continues to come, with it brings expectation, “What does this day hold for me?”
We have all had days when something unexpected came into our lives. As much as we can plan, schedule, and prepare, there are just some things we never anticipate.
We can ready ourselves for what might happen, but we must not allow it to keep us from truly living.
God tells us that if we are to follow Him and His way for our life, we can expect that when we start our day, a cross awaits us. A cross of burden, of divine appointments, of suffering, and loss.
On the horizon may loom a mountain we must climb, a valley we must ford, or a storm is brooding off in the distance. We may be greeted with beautiful sunshine only to have the day turn dark and stormy. We can never know what lies ahead.
One thing is for sure. The very One whom we follow is Master of the day. He created it for us, and we for it. He tells us not to worry about what we cannot change, what we cannot control.
Matthew 6:27 “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”
He then details where our focus should rest.
Matthew 6:31-34 “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
We often worry about things that never materialize or come to pass. All that energy, focus, and time are better spent on what God has for us that day. There are a few things we can count on as we face each day.
If I wake, it is because there is a purpose for me to fulfill, a work God has foreordained for me to accomplish.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.“
His desire is for me to meet with Him in preparation for the day ahead.
Mark 1:35 “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.“
If Jesus thought enough to get up early to prepare for His day, how much more should we take heed to prepare as well?
Then, as today’s passage states, “…take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
That cross for each of us may hold sacrifice, service, or a storm. It may be that we will be called upon to go out of our comfort zone to help someone. It may be that we’re asked to give something we hold dear.
I do know that no matter what I face, I will never be alone.
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.“
I know that whatever good has planned for me, He will see me through it.
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:“
No matter what trial I may face, I will be able to make it through.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
No matter what that cross may hold for us, we can take it with confidence, knowing God will use it for good.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Jesus knew that the cross before Him contained such pain, loneliness, and weight that he might not be able to bear it.
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jesus faced His cross and took it up despite asking for another way.
Matthew 26:39 “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
The resigning of His will to that of the Father shows us the path as well. We must follow in His steps.
1 Peter 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”
The cross is just part of the Christian life. It is what has been given to us to be more like Christ. It should not be feared or shunned. It must be accepted and taken up if we are to be more like Him.