Mark 8:34-And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
In this Bible verse Jesus tells us to deny ourselves and follow Him. This is a big task. A lot is packed into this verse in Mark. We must let go of our self-pride, we must change our behaviors that are only self pleasing and take on behaviors that glorify God. We must let go of our sinful nature and our sinful desires and take up the cross and follow Jesus. The cross is a symbol of suffering and pain and also a beautiful reminder that our Savior died a tragic death on that cross so that we may live some day in paradise with God.
Oftentimes I think of ideas for devotions and don’t always write them down. As I have been looking at this cross this past week, I have so many questions….I wonder who made it? Is it made out of a special material? I love the rugged look of this cross and as I was looking at it the other day, I was thinking it looks rough and worn. Many people might look at it and think it is junk. To me it serves as a beautiful reminder that sometimes we see only the bad in people and specific situations, when really there is so much good to be seen. Jesus instructs us in the verse above to take up His cross and follow Him. He is asking us to see the blessings in every person and difficult situation. He is asking us to be kind and show forgiveness to those who have hurt us.
So I cannot write this devotion without sharing another one of my favorite traditional hymns, The Old Rugged Cross, written in 1913 by George Bennard. I absolutely love the words of so many of the traditional hymns. So many powerful words to worship our Savior. I find it very sad that we no longer sing these hymns on a regular basis in churches.
The Old Rugged Cross
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.
Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.
Prayer for the week: Dear Lord, Please be with us this week as we strive to honor you. Help us to let go of our selfish tendencies and let us feel your presence in all we do! We want to take up your cross and let our light shine for you. Forgive us for the many wrongs we commit and help us to keep our focus on you. When we see a cross, let us be reminded of the suffering you went through to set us free from sin. We cannot thank you enough for the gift of eternal life. In your precious name we pray. Amen.
What stands in the way from taking up the cross in our daily lives?
Are there sins keeping us from a closer walk with God?