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Friday, October 19, 2012

Where Is Your Cross?

I woke up with a vision this morning. (A vision is something that you "see" in your mind's eye. It reveals things you should know, convicts you of things you should do, and leads you in where you should go. It is not really all that mysterious. It sort of develops the more you think of it.) I "saw" a road that stretched over the horizon and beyond my sight. Along the side of the road were crosses. They seemed to be everywhere. I was on this road with a cross.

Now here is the strange part (as if the rest of this isn't strange), the cross was a joy rather than a burden. I noticed that someone was walking next to me. I didn't identify him as an angel though he may have been. He just seemed to be there.

I asked, "Why are all these crosses laying beside the road?"

"O, those are the crosses that Christians were supposed to pick up each day. They left them here when they went into the city."

"There's a city?" I asked.

"Sure," came the quick reply, "no one has to stay on this road. You just have to leave your cross here if you do."

"So, these Christians were enticed by sinful things, right?" I smirked. "Yeah, things like gambling and drinking and sex. Things I preach against every Sunday."

"Not so much," he said with a saddness that cannot be captured with words, "most of the time its good things that get them off the road. They hear the call of their children or spouse or parents or even their reputations. Soon, the cross gets too heavy and they drop it. They leave the road soon afterwards."

"But don't they know that Jesus said that we can't be His disciples unless we put all that aside and keep our eyes on Him? Don't they realize what they have done?"

"You see," he answered, "once they have dropped their crosses they make excuses to convince themselves that Jesus never expected them to really hate their fathers, mothers, spouses, children and their own lives. That way they can live good Christian lives without carrying a cross."

"So, are they happy now?" I asked expecting him to laugh.

"Yes," he said with that same saddness, "they are happy."

We walked along and he finally said, "They are happy but they never have joy."

I got up from my bed and thought about this "vision." I dressed, got my things together, mounted my bicycle and headed to work. I told the Lord on the way:

"Today I take up my cross. Nothing will get between me and you, Lord. I will not act on my on behalf. I will do whatever, whenever, however for as long as it takes to obey your will. Neither my family, bank account or job will get in the way. I am dead to these things because I carry my cross."

Then, I received the joy of the Lord.

Where is your cross?

Luke 14:26-27 (NIV) 26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.


Deb Willbefree said...

This caught my heart. It reminded me a it of the Parable of the Sower and the seed which fell among the thorns. It was not persecution that was the problem, it was the cares of this world etc. and their pursuit, resulting in fruitlessness.

(Of course, I've been thinking about that parable this week, so that may be why it came to mind. )

But that visual of the dropped crosses... Just grabs my heart.

And I wonder how many of us drop our crosses in an effort to do the right thing.

It occurs to me--as I've been sitting for a few minutes, turning this over and seeking the Spirit's wisdom on this--that the Lord makes a way for us to continue to carry our cross AND care for those ones who have been assigned to us. It is not either/or. Jesus looked after His mother while UPON the cross.

If we drop our cross to tend t the cares of this world, it is because we have chosen to disconnect our hearts from Jesus and focus elsewhere-->rather than care for others through Him, keeping our heart's focus secure.

Ahh, but to live that out in real time, that is tricky part. sigh. At least for me.


Prentis McGoldrick said...

The cross we carry puts everything in perspective. In the cross we care for others. We don't care for others before picking up our own crosses. We care for others with the cross on our backs.