Take Up Your Cross: Matthew 10:38-39
“38) And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39) He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭38‬-‭39‬ ‭
We now have a picture of the scope of devotion Jesus expects from His followers. Being a Christian is not a matter of ease or convenience. To the contrary, being a Christian has cost many people their lives.
The picture Jesus painted was to make the conscious decision to take a spot on a Roman cross be willing to die for the love of Jesus. Such was the fate of anyone guilty of insurrection against Rome. Such was the fate that soon awaited Jesus Himself.
But these verses also carry another application. Following Jesus leads into a whole new way of life. It involves forsaking self and sinful dreams, goals and ambitions. It brings about new behaviors, actions, attitudes and character. Following Jesus involves forsaking your ways and embracing God’s ways.
Jesus may have had Isaiah 55:6-12 in mind as He uttered Matthew 10:38-39. When we come to Jesus we exchange our ways for His ways. We give up our small plans to embrace His enormous plans for our life.
The trade off is not even close. Isaiah 55:9 says; “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
We can now stand back and see the full scope of Matthew 10:39. If you selfishly cling to your life here and now… you loose everything; but if you let go of your ways and seek Jesus… you find true life.
I consciously wrestled with this early in my Christian life. I was double minded. I wanted Jesus but also had dreams and ambitions of my own. I wanted to go to trade school and pursue a career in the building trades. I loved architecture and drafting. But the Holy Spirit was nudging me toward Bible College and world missions.
This was not a salvation calling, it was a calling to dedicate my life to serving God. One path was predictable, paid well and offered comfort and worldly security. The other path was uncertain, meant living by faith and was full of self sacrifice.
As I laid it out before the Lord, He spoke to me much like He did to Simon, Andrew, James and John in Matthew 4:18-22. He simply whispered “Follow Me.”
I emptied out my small savings account and headed off to Bible College. That was in the fall of 1976. Apart from a few stretches of pastoring churches that included guaranteed housing and salary, we pursued a path of world missions and trusting God to raise up monthly supporters or provide in other miraculous ways.
He has opened amazing doors both here in the United States and around the world. GoServ Global is a significant part of that story, but it is much broader.
I shudder to see how different my world would be had I picked the door marked “self ambition.” But there is more.
I have discovered it is a daily decision to pick up my cross and die to self. It is only to easy to be serving God while focused on self.
No matter the career path God leads you down, there is a cross waiting every day. Sin, selfishness, bondages, bad attitudes, twisted character and hidden agenda’s all need to be nailed to the cross. Walking with Jesus changes everything about you.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global.