Then said Jesus unto His disciples, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life will lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I AM meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest unto your souls. Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus tells us to take up our crosses daily and follow Him, and to take His yoke upon our shoulders; for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Easy? Light? This cross is heavy and this yoke is keeping me from doing so many things… But the harsh truth rips aways my complaints; what kind of burden would I bear if I cast off my Savior’s yoke and tell Him to just carry my cross?
If I do not carry His yoke, which is easy, and His burden, which is light, and take up my cross daily, I would still be carrying a heavy burden, but a very different one. The burden of the world and my old self would drag me down to death and despair, and the world would never be able to see that there is a well of living water springing out of me into eternal life.
Jesus did carry my cross, but not all the way to Calvary. A bystander, Simon of Cyrene, had to carry Jesus’ cross some of the way. But at the end of the road, he laid down the cross, where Jesus was then nailed upon it.
My life on earth is such a short span of time, and this cross may be heavy, but the greatest burden has already been lifted. For me, eternity starts today, because the end of my road is peace and life, not death; all because Jesus took the final punishment on my behalf.
I am not saved by works or just by doing what Jesus tells me to do; my cross is not simply following words on a page, so that I don’t go to hell. My cross is love itself, an act of service and obedience toward the One Who gives me rest and assurance when I abide in Him and He in me. I am given joy and a purpose when my faith shines through my works as well as my words, and my life is abundant when I live it in holy service for my King.
For by grace am I saved through faith; and that not of myself, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest I should boast. For I am His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that I should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
The cross Jesus asks me to carry, and the yoke I am asked to take upon myself, are burdens that show I am on the path to eternal life. At the end of this road, Jesus will take that cross off my shoulders and cast it in the tomb, and He will bring me with Him into paradise.
Until that day, I must remember that life is precious and Jesus doesn’t want me to waste a moment of this life by carrying the burdens of the world on my shoulders, especially when He already took those burdens upon Himself so that I wouldn’t have to.
So I have to ask myself: What burden(s) am I carrying today? What yoke am I taking upon myself? Is it my Lord’s yoke or the yoke of sin and worldy expectations? Will I be able to lay down this cross at the end of the road or will I be nailed to this cross? By God’s grace, I have the joyous privilege to say that I will lay down this cross someday, and though I carry it now, my back does not break under the weight. My Savior holds the greater burden and I just have to walk until it’s Heaven… The world wants me to believe that nothing is worth dying for, but if I’m not dying to myself everyday and living in resurrected life, then my life will only be defined by death. And there is already enough death in the world. What the world needs is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, so I better follow the Way, speak the Truth, and live the Life if I want to see any real hope and change in the world.
Jesus is the answer for the world today; above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the Way.
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