I’ve heard Luke 9:23 in church services and read it more times than I can count.
It’s a mantra of Christianity: “Take up your cross and follow Him.”
Yet it’s not very often that we hear emphasis on the first portion of scripture that instructs us to first deny ourselves. It’s not a popular concept in a self-seeking, instant gratification culture — nor is it something that comes easily in human nature.
It’s hard to believe that it has been four years since my husband and I loaded up a moving truck on Valentine’s Day and moved 1,000 miles away from friends, family, and home to accept a ministry position. I can still see my mom crying at 5:00 am as I stepped into the truck and waved goodbye. It was a leap of faith, it certainly wasn’t easy and it broke my heart.
Immediately after we got to our new home, God was opening up doors where there didn’t seem to be any and made things happen that seemed impossible to us. Even through all of God’s working though, I was still selfishly focused on the loneliness and heartache of being away from my family and friends. Finally in a time of reading and prayer, the Lord lead me to Luke 9 and it convicted my heart as I realized I could never look forward if I was always looking back. A wave of shock rushed over me as I realized for years I had been doing everything I thought was right but all the while without truly giving my all.
I was attending church, ministering through music and any other way my husband asked of me, but I was not completely devoted to the work God had placed before me when my prayers and mind were constantly centered around my misery. God had led me to a place and time when the cost to do His will was everything and I wasn’t giving Him everything.
We often become easily engrossed and distracted by our current situation that we are completely blinded to the opportunities and blessings God has given us. Work, family, friends and everyday living can take our focus off of God’s calling on our lives. Perhaps you don’t feel called to a particular ministry, but as Believers we are all called to follow Him; we are all called to share the wonderful Good News of Jesus Christ’s saving grace. — and following Him will cost everything.
The scripture in Luke 9 tells us to take up our cross daily, and this reassures me that the Lord knows what a struggle it can be to keep our minds on track. It’s a daily decision to make His will my priority and trust in Him to lead me.
Be intentional about your walk with the Lord.
Allow His voice and guiding hand to be at the forefront of your life. Don’t let wasted years pass you by, like I did, before you completely and fervently follow after God.