When one is offered a new job, it is often met with excitement. We can’t wait to know the conditions of service and benefits so we can make plans accordingly. Sometimes, the expectations are exceeded; other times, they are barely met.
The same way, when someone accepts Christ as his Lord and Savior, the peace and joy that floods his soul is indescribable. After hearing a deeply convicting message and perhaps being inspired and challenged by the life of a Christian he knows, he is optimistic about his life turning around for the better. He would soon realize that life doesn’t change into a bed of roses even with Jesus in the picture now. And the conditions of service are less glamorous than expected.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16: 24 RSV). A pastor in his sermon one Sunday called this verse, ‘The Christian’s Conditions of Service.’ Excellent caption.
The world we live in highlights self-interests as paramount to that of others. The era of social media revolution we find ourselves in have made most people self-centered and image conscious. Anything to put the spotlight on oneself with the subconscious thought that the number of likes/thumbs up and followers meaning validation of self-worth.
But in Christ, you’re required to turn the spotlight away from yourself and put in on the One in whom you have believed. You don’t take credit for the good things that come your way but give God the glory for his grace and provisions. In all that you do, you need to ask if it would please God to go ahead with it. More often than not, you would have to sacrifice your comfort and convenience to help others. The focus changes from what ‘what would give me pleasure?’ to ‘what will give God the glory?’
Taking up your cross means showing true commitment, pledging your entire existence to serving him just like enlisting in the army. You take your instructions from your Commanding Officer regardless of how risky it might be. But unlike the army, there is no retirement age. You are to love and serve him wholeheartedly until you are called home.
The benefits of following Christ abound. He will be your refuge, provider, comforter, guide, friend, healer and everything else you can think of. But his timing may take longer than expected. In such situations, you have to trust his heart; know that he knows what’s best for you.
Follow Me. Simple but never easy. But you are obedient to his Word, he will give you the grace and the strength do what you must.
Deny Yourself. Take Up Your Cross. Follow Me. Those are the orders of our Master for every single day we live. As human as we are, we would find ourselves falling short sometimes. But thanks to grace, whenever we fall, we shall get up again.
May God help us live up to what is expected of us as Christians; he knows what this world is turning into.
© Josephine Amoako 2017