“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23.
77% of Americans identified with the Christian faith in 2012 according to Gallup’s. There are many who profess to be Christians and are living according to their faith. They are sowing the seed of righteousness bearing the good fruit. Then there are those who acknowledge Jesus but do not sow the seed, therefore no fruit is produced. I was one of those. If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I was a Christian, I would have said absolutely! However, my religion was useless and deceitful. Can you imagine a young Christian, truly seeking God, looking at “me” as an example; as a representative of God back then? Don’t get me wrong, I was a “good” person but I was a lousy representative of God. You may have seen me at the grocery store rolling my eyes with my hands on my hips behind you while all the while claiming to be a child of God. If you have ever wondered why I am so thankful for God’s mercy and grace, this is just one example.
I acknowledged God but I did not know Him. My cross wasn’t heavy at all because I never bothered to pick it up. I wanted the benefits Jesus provided me on the Cross but didn’t care to bear any of the weight myself. Finally I began “seeking” Jesus when all my fruit died on “my” tree of religion. “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. Come to find out we are suppose to be “doers of the Word, and not hearers only,” James 1:22. What?? Yes, we actually are suppose to live by what the Word of God says. Believe it or not, we actually WANT to live by what the Word of God says.
But what about our heavy cross we have to pick up? “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:30. Almost sounds contradictory doesn’t it? Well, we know Jesus was referred to as “Rabbi”. A rabbi’s yoke was considered their philosophy, their interpretation. As rabbi’s died they would pass their “yoke” to their disciples in hopes of continuing their interpretations. Through the years and through their disciples, the yokes would become the subject of many arguments while their rabbi had long past and could not defend or correct his interpretation. How blessed are we, as Christians, that our Rabbi is still alive, living inside of us, continually teaching us His ways. We do not have to wonder what our Rabbi meant; He actively and purposefully shows us His ways. Jesus’ yoke IS easy and His burden IS light because He’s with us constantly; guiding and directing us. Our cross may seem heavy at times but it’s His yoke that teaches how to carry it.
“Not everyone says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.” Matthew 7:21 When we seek Him, we find Him. When we find Him, we find His yoke and become doers – doers of His will and not ours. We are humbled when we realize Jesus bared the Cross once for us already and has carried ours for us all along because we are too lazy to pick it up ourselves. The Lord does not expect us to bear our cross without His yoke. Pick up your cross, bear His yoke and be a doer of His will. The “doers” are the salt and light of the world. – Donna Warren