Bearing the Cross

Richard Waialeale

"Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." (Mark 8:34-38)
During this time in Jesus ministry, He calls out to anyone who is willing to listen, not just the 12 disciples. He says that after Him, if you choose to follow in His footsteps, there are two requirements that you must consider. The first is to deny or refuse the things we often consider self-interest, things that benefit only me. The other is when Jesus says "take up the cross,' He's saying to those that will say "Yes" to God's will and way, you're saying yes to God's claim and no to my selfish claims. Cross-bearing was an act of submission in the Roman culture (not necessarily the thing you'd like to see).

In the book titled "Bearing the Cross, Martin Luther King believed anyone who truly challenged racial segregation would be killed. On the facts of his life, King seemed an unlikely candidate to make such a challenge. He had been sheltered and spoiled by domineering parents as a child, and he was often undisciplined and hedonistic as an adult. Where, then, did King acquire the ability to look death in the eye and wring from the experience an unflinching poetry of sacrifice and redemption? It was on a single night, Jan. 27, 1956. King, at 26, was on his way to national celebrity as the leader of the Montgomery bus boycott. But the telephoned death threats had weakened his resolve. Unable to sleep, he sat at the kitchen table and reflected on the fact that he had inherited the ministerial profession from his father and had mastered the philosophy of religion at seminary and graduate school, yet he himself had no sustaining faith. Then King heard an ''inner voice'' that he identified as that of Jesus Christ. ''I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No never alone. No never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.''

It as the transforming moment, ''the most important night of his life, the one he always would think back to in future years when the pressures again seemed to be too great.'' The "vision in the kitchen," as King would remember.

It was Martin Luther King's childlike faith that spoke from the mountaintop moments of his career and sustained him in his final despair, when he realized that ''the cross is something that you bear and ultimately that you die on.
I cannot expect to follow someone with all my heart and hang on to my own securities as a safety measure. This is what I see when following Jesus. When He calls me to follow Him, I will need His power, and His encouragement and guidance to do what He wants me to accomplish. I will only receive all of Him when I release myself to depend on Him. Which means I need to get closer to Him. Seek Him to understand what's mine to move to the side and what's for Jesus to get me to where I believe He wants me to be.
Dear Jesus, I pray to help me remove the things that get in my way that I still depend on that I haven't yet released. Your will be done, not Richard's Kingdom come, but Thy Kingdom come. I can see those that You want me to reach and I need to allow You to lead me to bring them in from the outside. Thank you for showing me to bear the cross in Jesus Name I Pray. Amen.

Devotions for March 01

Numbers 28,29
Mark 8

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