For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Luke 9:23 “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Jesus made this statement long before he went to the cross himself.
He advocated that we deny ourselves of the temptations this world has to offer, knowing shortly, when we put off this tabernacle (our bodies), great and glorious beauty awaits us, BUT only through that overcoming.
He says, in an understanding way, to take up our cross every day, and not just on Sunday’s.
What is a cross in this sense?
Our cross can be seen in many ways, but let’s look at the word ‘shame’ for a minute.
When a person was placed on a cross to die, it was public, humiliating, and the highest shame of all. Cross bearers were spat upon, kicked, hit, sworn at, had stones thrown at them and had shameful things done to them. The movies of Jesus do not tell the whole story.
Jesus is asking us to bear that shame and not hide our faith under a bushel, or secretly at home, or in our heart, but resolve the argument going on about the embarrassment or sense of loss, as, in the end, it is only a loss of this world’s ’stuff’.
He also said, to follow him.
Well, what did he do when he was alive so we know to follow?
Well, he studied a lot in his early life. He prayed a lot in his ministry life, and was always ‘tuned in’ to his father. He was public in his belief but not arrogant. He spoke gently and simply to listeners but in an educated manner, causing them to understand, lovingly. He loved and spoke with children about the way of holiness.
He was always delivering the message of his Father, and not his own message. He quietly used his power for the sake of the people and the kingdom…humbly, not making a sideshow of his ministry.
He was sober-minded at all times, always looking to where his words where going and what they might achieve. He was offensive in speech ONLY to those who had stolen his kingdom. He had no spite, malice, anger, or dirty jokes and innuendo, knowing his mouth was to be exclusively a fountain of living water, not a cesspool, or half and half.
He knew his time was limited and he was therefore focused and economical in speech. And, he loved out of a pure and unadulterated heart that would and could take him to the cross and beyond it, for our sake.
He gave up everything, and to this end we are also called.