TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The cross is a place of sacrifice where you lay it all down. You die to self and live for righteousness. You cease to look to yourself and look to God who is our ‘All in all.’ He is an All-sufficient God. God asked Abraham to leave his family and his loved-ones to go to a place that He would show him. Abraham packed his bags and left. He had no clue where God would lead him. Later on in their relationship, God asked him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac--begotten in his old age. He did not hesitate, the following day he set out to execute God’s orders—trusting that either God would replace Isaac or resurrect him. (Hebrews 11:17-19)

Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples complained that he had left everything to follow Him. Jesus replied: “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30) There is a double reward attached to following the Lord Jesus---first on earth, then in heaven. There is no biblical figure who has taken his cross in obedience to God’s word or instruction who has not been handsomely rewarded.

The cross in this context means making God our priority, listening to His words and putting them into practice, not out of fear but out of love and conviction. In this world we have taken up a myriad of senseless or foolish enterprises to glorify ourselves in order to make a name which to all intents and purposes has an expiry date. We have embarked on futile ventures for self and not for God’s glory. The outcome has been wasted time and resources. It is only when we work in God’s vineyard that we are assured of full success. All self-glorification ventures will one day come to naught.

Our response to this call should be like that of the prophet Isaiah who when he heard God ask; “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” responded: “Here I am. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8) For this reason, Isaiah became one of God’s greatest messengers operating in the prophetic realm---anointed to prophesy the birth and death of the Messiah.   

If we have our eyes fixed on the world we would turn a deaf ear to God’s call. But the call to go the way of the world will reap nothing but regret, remorse, shame and a lot of ‘if-I-had-known’. God has a purpose for every human being on this planet and it is in serving Him that that purpose will be fulfilled. No hidden agendas, no diversions or U-turns will accomplish His work. To fulfil His purposes for our lives, we have to be faithful followers of Christ who is the Word of God made flesh.

We do not follow blindly because Jesus is ‘the Way and the Truth and the Life’ combined. “He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b) Anyone who recognises His divinity and sovereignty is assured of eternal life. Jesus asked a group of fishermen to follow Him so He would make them fishers of men; they did and have spread the gospel to the four corners of the world. They gave up everything to follow Him and what an impact that had---conquering the world not with swords but by the word of their testimony. Though unschooled, these men turned the world upside down as they spread the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. People were astonished by the courage Peter and John displayed and realised; “These men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) 

Ready and willing, the Presence of God will lead us to our Promised Land. We lay down all our cares on Him for He cares for us. This world will pass away, so we had better have our eyes fixed on things eternal.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28)

Author: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye