I am crucified with Christ . . . Galatians 2:20
Whenever I read the scripture where Jesus says, “take up your cross and follow me,” I want to ask, “isn’t there an easier way?” You know what I’m talking about. Death, even metaphorical death, is scary, painful, and very disruptive. Our natural bent is for survival. We avoid anything that sounds or looks like death whenever we can. So the idea of taking up my cross is scary. I imagine I will be living a less than fulfilling life. Like there will be something hanging over head and keeping me from fully enjoying life.
But the other day I heard Stasi Eldredge of Ransomed Heart say something that made me reconsider what it means to take up my cross. She said, “After crucifixion comes resurrection.” (You can watch her talk here) When I heard Stasi say that I realized that I may have been focusing on the wrong thing. I cringed at the thought of taking up my cross and never considered that a resurrection awaited me on the other side, until a couple days ago. For the first time I wondered, could it be that when Jesus asks us to take up our crosses he is actually giving us the chance to experience more life? Maybe Jesus is telling us that sometimes we have to let something in us die before something better can come to life. Like if we let go of our love of self, God can bring to life love for people we thought were impossible to love.
Of course this won’t be easy or fun, but we can trust the goodness and love of God. When God asks us to make a sacrifice we can face it with courage, knowing that better things are coming. And we know we don’t have to go through it alone. I will leave you with Paul’s words:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ~Galatians 2:20