There is something special about the makeup of mankind’s heart and life. First of all it is patterned after our Creator. He made us in His image, though that image be marred by sin.
The way in which it is special is that we are most at peace when we are most like Him. That is; peaceful, loving, kind, faithful, gracious, merciful, joyful, serving, patient, gentle, and having self-control. There are some who try and be the opposite of these things, and live in abject misery; yet thinking, “Now this is the life!”
There is only one way to be as our Creator would have us, and that is to follow His Son Jesus Christ. He said,
“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 shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 (KJV)
Jesus’s own words are “If you will follow Me…” Following Him is to be like Him and His life. He sacrificed His time, His life in ministry to help people and minister to them. He was never distracted from His reason for coming, and that was to die on His cross for the sins of all mankind; His destiny in this life was to give His life as the payment for our sins. With Him; in His mind and heart; that was as good as already done when He was speaking to His disciples at this point in time.
In the verses above He calls for all who would follow Him to take up their own cross and follow. What is our cross, if we are to follow Him? The cross in that day was an object of death. It was a tool of the Roman government to punish capital criminals, and put them to death. So when Jesus speaks of “taking up your cross” He is meaning the laying down of our lives.
No woman or man can be a true follower of Jesus Christ who has not given up their very lives to do so. To not lay one’s life down for Christ and His gospel is to lose your life. To lay down your life for Christ is to gain your life, and eternity with Him.
Paul the apostle probably had these words in His mind when he wrote:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galations 2:20 (KJV)
To have the fruits of the Spirit of Christ, ie., “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance…” Galations 5:22-23 (KJV), we must like Paul, the other disciples of Jesus Christ, lay down our lives as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), and showing forth the honors and glory of our Lord and Savior.
Refusing to give your all for Jesus Christ may just gain you the world, and all it possesses, but you lose your soul, your very life; and eternal peace and joy will never be yours.
The King’s Cross is the way to blessing, peace, joy, love, contentment, and eternity with our King. The King of all kings; and Lord of all lords.
-Tim A. Blankenship