Luke 9:23 (NKJV)
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Jesus denied Himself when He took up the cross, and He expects us to do the same. He had prayed in the garden that the Father remove the cup of sacrifice, His humanity crying out for any other way. Sadly, we know that there was no other way, and Jesus died so that we can have an eternity with God.
Perhaps you have found yourself in a painful situation where you have had to transcend your feelings or physical pain to be there for others. I know I have. I had to deny my migraine-tormented self and focus on a single brother in Christ crying out for help with opposite sex issues. Perhaps you are a parent and have transcended your pain or weariness to be there for your kids. Perhaps you are disabled and struggle to make it through every day. You get the idea.
We who follow Jesus need to be willing to follow Him in every way. For some of us, that means we will be martyred. For others of us, it means we live with being falsely or unjustly accused or judged. Can we see beyond our pain to the joy set before us like Jesus did when He was dying on the cross? Can we see that our pain serves a greater purpose than we may have thought?
Jesus’ pain and suffering is not only an example to us all but is a witness for us all. He agreed to be born in the flesh to literally show us how to live and love regardless of the surrounding circumstances. Do you really follow Him and deny yourself so that you can be God’s instrument of blessing?
Father God, we often pray that You make us an instrument of Your peace. That’s a beautiful thing. Today, I want to begin to ask You to make me an instrument of Your blessing no matter what’s going on in my life. Thanks for granting me what I need to bear whatever the pain of the moment is and thanks for granting me the spiritual love to be there for those hurting ones You send across my path. May You grant me the words to comfort, encourage and make a difference in their lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.
copyright 2014, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved