“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
The devotional today on Youversion was from Follow – a life of purpose. The writer shared that the world encourages us to follow our dreams, but Jesus said “follow Me.” That convicted me, as I know sometimes I am really asking God to follow me. I am a planner and will often make things happen outside of His timing Ive realized.
I have a dream that is really burning in my heart. I do believe that God wants to give us the desires of our heart, but I think at times I have wanted to see that dream come to pass so much I am asking God to follow my plans. I don’t think He will take the dream from me, but I do believe He wants me to follow His lead, not my own. I often want Him to bless my dreams. I am not forgetting myself; in a sense, once again I am giving Him my cross to carry.
I have to want His Will more than my own way. Just as Jesus cried out in the garden, “Not my will, but Your’s be done.” God is looking for me to surrender what I want to His leading. He wants me to come to Him on His terms, that means surrendering my will and accepting His will, His path and plans for my life.
He also says that I need to take up my cross. To me that means, I have to do something, but not what I probably want to do. Jesus carried the cross, as did Simon from Cyrene. Neither wanted to carry it. Jesus was already beaten and had open wounds when the soldiers placed the cross upon Him. Simon was also forced to carry the cross meant for Jesus.
So my cross will likely be more than I want to carry. It may be someone else’s burden. It may feel like it is tearing me apart with each step, but I can rest assured that if I am giving it to God the burden will still be light. It will only be for a determined time because eventually my will, my flesh, will be sacrificed on it as I surrender to God’s will.
When I follow Christ, the road will not always be smooth. I will still experience highs and lows. I will still go through tough times. I will see doors closed. I will be tested by God and attacked by the enemy. Yet, what I will always know because of Jesus’s sacrifice is that He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. He will help me threw anything I face when I answer the call Follow Me.
Lord forgive me for getting ahead of You instead of following You. Worse still, forgive me for the times I’ve instead asked You to follow me and carry my cross. Help me to get out of Your way and stay out of Your way and trust You fully, following where You lead. In Jesus name. Amen.