Matthew 16:24 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
A cross is big. A cross is heavy. A cross is awkward. You can’t carry anything else when you’re carrying a cross. It takes both hands to lift it; your entire body to support; and every ounce of strength, focus and endurance to walk with it.
If you’re carrying a cross, you can’t take anything else with you. You can’t hold on to anything else; you can drag anything behind you. Your hands are not free to grasp anything else; your shoulders cannot bear another load; your legs cannot support more weight; your mind cannot concentrate on another task.
The cross alone. Nothing else.
Luke 14:33 (NKJV) So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
Notice the word “all”? I’ve looked in every reference source available and I can’t find another definition for “all” that means anything except “all”. So I’m thinking “all” means “all”. All what?
We forsake (completely give up) ALL of what we have devised in exchange for what the Lord has perfectly planned for us. Yes, of course we will have “things”, but with a different perspective. We manage the possessions, plans and resources that God has given us to carry out His will. We no longer claim them as our own, but claim them for our Owner.
1 Timothy 6:7 (NKJV) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
Truth be known, we’re not really forsaking anything anyway. We brought nothing into this world. We have nothing we haven’t received (1Cor 4.7). We are only forsaking what we have picked up that brings death to us, and exchanging it for what gives life.
2 Corinthians 6:10-11 (NKJV) …as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
When we grip only the cross, we truly possess all things. If we hang on to even ONE thing from our “pre-cross” days, we are not worthy of the Cross. It’s a zero sum game. All or nothing. Nothing in between.
Charles Spurgeon wrote:
“There are no crown-wearers in heaven who
were not cross- bearers here below.”
Matthew 10:38-39 (NKJV) And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Are you carrying anything but the cross?
Our God, show us clearly anything that we are carrying, dragging or hanging on to besides the cross. Give us the courage to let it go, drop it or throw it away. May our hands cling only to the cross, as our eyes are focused only on You. Amen.