Happy Valentine’s Day, my dear readers!
I know this is not a typical Valentine’s Day post title but I swear, this topic of God’s love has been speaking to me for the past few months already and I have been waiting for the right time to post this. 2020 came in with a lot of struggles mainly on work and on how I could continue to glorify God despite the day by day challenges to my Faith. God has been consistently giving me answers to persevere and endure with joy through my daily quiet time, and it breaks me into tears every time I am comforted by God’s words to seek joy amidst these challenges.
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”Romans 5:3-5 NASB
One of my ladies (under my DGroup or Discipleship Group) shared that she’s currently going through a rough phase in her life right now and that it’s difficult when you don’t get to pick your cross. It hit me. “It’s difficult when you don’t get to pick your cross” and I stopped in awe and replied that I super like her thoughts about it.
“Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Jesus.” If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then there’s a high chance that you have already heard this line. This is a very common saying that followers of Christ hold on to especially when life gets rough. Following Christ has a cost and it is not something that we could choose or bargain with.
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”Luke 9:23-33 NASB
Denying ourselves is what the cross entails. Self-denial has been repetitive in Jesus’ teachings to His disciples (Luke 14:26,27; Matthew 10:38,16:24; Mark 8:34; John 12:24-26) and carrying our “cross” speaks on how Jesus denied his Godly status to suffer for our sins and obeyed His Father. It means subjecting ourselves in willful obedience to His commandments, to serve one another, and suffer, and perhaps even die for His sake.
It is truly a moment by moment choice to deny ourselves, to pick up our cross and to follow Him. We must carry our own cross and that is the COST. An important spiritual truth is those who would want to live in comfort, ease, and acceptance of the world will not find eternal life. While it is true that we will experience Trials when we follow Christ (1 Timothy 3:12; Matthew 5:10-11) and it may sound terrifying, the Bible has proven the promises when we follow Christ, like having a full life (John 10:10), receiving acceptance (John 6:37), reaping rewards (Mark 10:29-31), witnessing revelations (John 14:21), intimate relationship with God the Father (John 15:14-15), and ultimately, an unspeakable joy (John 15:9-11).
My main takeaways from this realizations are:
- > Following Christ has indeed, a COST.
- > The COST is our CROSS.
- > We don’t get to choose what cross to carry.
- > Jesus has promises when we follow Him.
Honestly, as I am reading through the verses God has been speaking to me to fully depend on Him and His plans, I cannot deny the fact that I am feeling His love grow and grow within me. I cannot explain it well but it is truly there. I am starting to feel apathetic on certain things and I have been feeling God’s embrace getting tighter and tighter as I face these challenges day by day. It is only by God’s love I am sustained and I am encouraged to look forward to tomorrow even though I know tomorrow will be the same. My quiet time has also been reminding me of Jesus’ immense love for me when He died for my sins in order for me to live. Despite the challenges and my constant battle to not conform to the world (which a lot of times, I lose), only one fact remains – I am loved.
For YOU who are reading this, I may not know or may never know what you are going through right now but this I say to you, surrender your worries and troubles to Jesus and He will lift you up (1 Peter 5:6-9). Repent from your sins, accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and may you live your life to the full. Remember, regardless of the cross you are carrying or about to carry, You Are Loved.