During a private meeting with his disciples, Jesus reveals 3 non-negotiable expectations, Matthew 16:24. Denying yourself is likely referencing Paul’s words in Colossians 3:1-9. Once you develop the proper mindset, the next command to take up your cross which is different for each individual. The cross that you bear may cause some to feel faint. Yet, this is where your own weakness opens the door for Jesus to become strong.
Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; 9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! – 2 Corinthians 12:8-9
Depending upon your specific calling, the weight of the cross that you bear varies. Perhaps, this explains Jesus’ final demand, “follow me.” At the end of Luke 9:57-62, Jesus meets candidates to be appointed as one of 72 other disciples. The three that Luke mention each have an excuse to put God’s calling on hold. The point of Jesus’ 3 non-negotiable expectations is so that his followers finish what they start.
So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful [e]in divine strength), 2 Corinthians 12:10.
Taking up the cross of Christ isn’t easy. This life long expedition may incite fear, bring trouble and inflict your life with pain. Reliant K’s song For the Moments that I Feel Faint talks about this spiritual journey. The lyrics of this song urges listener’s to never underestimate the hope of Jesus. Just as the apostle Paul struggled with some sort of physical or spiritual condition, lean on God’s grace so that you will be filled with supernatural strength as you carry your cross.
by Jay Mankus