GOD, THE CALLED, AND THEIR CROSS!

Is there a cost to being a follower of Christ?
Shouldn’t the finished work of Christ on the Cross mean there is nothing more to bear?
The above questions may come to mind when we think about the diverse challenges of life which many Believers do face; and when we try to find the balance between the gains of salvation and the pains that seem to accompany the decision to follow Christ…
Moreso if we had thought and expected that the decision would serve the best, and probably make life much easier, more peaceful and more comfortable; only to soon discover over time that our expectations may just have been over-exaggerated, especially when the realities of life begin to set in…
But however; Is God Perfect? Yes!… Is God perfect in His ways? Yes!… Did Jesus pay a perfect price on His Cross? Yes!… Are His followers called into a perfect life? Yes!… Is that life meant to be here on Earth? Well, NO!
So, amongst some of the ‘hard sayings’ Jesus spoke to the crowds that followed Him are those we can find in the below Scriptures:
“…If you want to be My follower you must love Me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be My disciple. And you cannot be My disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow Me.” Luke 14:26-27 (NLT)

Also, speaking to His Disciples, He said:
“If any of you wants to be My follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow Me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for Me, you will find true life.” Matthew 16:24-25 (NLT)

I could probably guess that Jesus’ followers like most of us today would think He did not mean those words in literal terms; probably until many years after when the Early Church began to face fierce persecutions which led to some losing their lives literally for the sake of Christ…

And till this day, the fact remains that there is indeed a cost to being a true follower of Christ and there is indeed some cross which the Believer will have to bear, time and again in the course of their journey of life in the Christian Faith
We may also easily think that Jesus must have been prescribing such sacrificial life for only those with a ‘special call’ (like the Preachers or Pastors), but we cannot deny the fact that in our present days all Believers at different levels are being faced with different dimensions of the pressures in life from the world and its systems; and it has become more glaring that the cross Jesus spoke about was not just for a select few…
And while a great deal of the pressures would come from the outside world, it would amaze many to discover that a good portion of it would not emanate from the Believers’ enemies, but rather from those they love; sometimes their fellow Believers…
So, from stories of those who face family abandonment for the sake of their Faith; to those who lose some promotion or some benefit; to those who face criticisms, rejections, and persecutions of diverse kinds, all for choosing to stand with Christ…
In another ‘hard saying’ of His, Jesus spoke:
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! No, I came to bring a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!” Matthew 10:34-36 (NLT)

And we may once again expect that He did not mean those literally, but then, we would also agree that His Words are not far from the realities of the tales of many Believers… And probably every Believer today would have had at least one ‘bitter experience’ which they’ve had to go through because of their faith, either involving a family member or a fellow Believer…
The fact remains that every true Believer is called of God, and every true Believer must bear some cross at some point in their Christian journey; and that in fact, is one of the marks of a true Disciple; there must be something or someone to forsake at some point for Christ’s sake; else the journey to true Discipleship has not yet began, because Disciples were never made in ‘comfort’ zones…

But the good news is that victory is ultimately assured, regardless of the nature of the cross or the one who is involved; because God will always be glorified at the end, just as it was with Jesus Christ during His sojourn on Earth, and likewise the Early Disciples…

And though we may not fully understand by our natural minds why God allows these somewhat ‘unfavourable’ situations (which for some Believers may even linger through their entire lifetime), but we do know that the All-Wise God who has prepared a most perfect place for His people would rather not have them become too comfortable in an imperfect place that is not Home, to a point that they lose sight of the greater glory ahead…
So Jesus spoke saying:
“…I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT)
And Paul the Apostle (who carried a great deal of his own cross) wrote:

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” 2Corinthians 4:8‭-‬9‭, ‬17 (NLT)

“…But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.” 1Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)

So then be encouraged today; because not only will your God ensure that the cross would not be heavier than the bearer, but He will also by the help of the Holy Spirit supply the grace you require to go through…
And whenever the cross feels overwhelming, do not forget God’s promises, remember the past testimonies, and find courage by the Holy Spirit in the place of prayer and in the company of like-minded Believers; knowing that the greater the cross, the greater the reward!

Thanks for sharing with me. Remain strengthened in Him!

#GodisStillinCharge