Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
This is without a doubt the toughest verse in the bible for me.
I think it’s confession time…well, at least as much as I responsibly can share. I have a me problem. I want to be comfortable. I want the latest gadgets. I want to be entertained. I want PG on Sundays, but R the other six days. I have urges and desires I like. I want more money. I don’t like most people. I can’t stand authority. I don’t want to work hard. I do things I know I shouldn’t do and don’t do things I know I should do. I’m lazy. I don’t want to pick up my cross daily. I want salvation, and I don’t want to make sacrifices for it. I ask Christ to stay home when I go out with the boys. I am a hypocrite to my kids. I don’t respect my wife enough. I am a bad employee. I talk behind people’s backs. I don’t pay my bills on time.
I am a flawed Christian. I put myself ahead of Christ more times than I can count. It’s easy to say to myself, “Oh, you’re being too hard on yourself…you’re a good guy.” That’s not the point. The things I write are the issues I deal with in my life on a daily basis—not my cross, but myself. I struggle every friggin’ day with my faith! Just when I believe I am onto something or I’m beginning to understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ, I get in the way of myself. My pride enters and I start to wonder why other people get it. I start to doubt Christ and his sacrifice.
What does “a man of God” do? He keeps holding on.
Among the list of desires I mentioned is a desire that continues to flicker in my heart…the desire to know God. I thank God daily for his blessings. I thank God for my family. I ask God for his protection over my wife and kids. I pray for my brother and his wife. I pray for my sister and her child. I pray for my dad, my stepmom, my uncle and my grandmother. I pray for my in-laws. I pray for friends. I keep moving forward.
In my 17 years as a Christian I’ve experienced the highs and the lows—my spirit gets rattled during the lows. Yet this I know, I hunger for Christ. I yearn to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I crave to turn my back on the things of this world and live for God. Ultimately, my actions to fulfill my sinful desires show how much I don’t trust God to be my all in all. In the grand scheme of things, I am still in elementary school with my faith; I am stubbornly holding onto the training wheels—afraid to let go and let God.
All of this is not easy to share. I constantly need prayers. I wish to be broken to the point that Christ is all I need. I pray that God reveals to me what my spiritual gift is and that he uses me to the fullest—for the glory of the kingdom.
Please Lord, change my heart. Fill me with the desire to die to self and pick up my cross daily to serve you. You are my hope for eternal salvation.