To Carry the Cross for the Love of Christ

Why do you follow Jesus?
spiritual disciplines
Why do you practice spiritual disciplines, face your sin, deny yourself?
Why do you choose to take up your cross and follow Him?
Is it for the comfort you might receive from Him?
Is it for the healing He might do in you?
Is it for the transformation, for the beautiful creation He might make of your life?
cross
Many desire to join Christ in His kingdom, but few care to join Him on His cross.
Many are willing to share in His glory, but few wish to suffer anything for Him.
Many will follow Him as far as the breaking of bread, but few will remain to drink from His passion. Thomas à Kempis
It is easy to praise and bless Jesus as long as we are receiving some comfort from Him.
What if you knew that you would receive no benefit from Him here on this earth? What if you knew that you would not move closer to Him nor be transformed more into His image until you saw Him face to face?
Would you still spend the time and do the work, simply out of love and obedience? Robert Mulholland asks in his book, Shaped by the Word, whether we would still be willing to offer our spiritual practices to God even if God does nothing with it.
When Jesus hides Himself, which will happen at times throughout your life, will you start complaining and give up in despair?
You cannot escape the cross.
cross
At times you will be forsaken by God, at times troubled by those about you and, what is worse, you will often grow weary of yourself…For he wishes you to learn to bear trial without consolation, to submit yourself wholly to him that you may become more humble through suffering. Thomas à Kempis
Or, on the contrary, will you love Jesus for His own sake and not for any comfort He might bring to you?
Will you praise Him in your anguish of heart as well as in the joy of His support?
What power there is in a pure love for Jesus – love that is free from all self-interest and self-love! Thomas à Kempis
I am, I confess, far from this kind of love.
Yet I long for it.
If you are like me and struggle to love Jesus with a pure love, will you join me in praying for a heart that is capable of loving in this way? Make no mistake – this kind of love can only be a gift from God.
If you are farther along on this journey towards a love that is free from self-interest, will you pray for me?
We must be willing to bear the cross of Jesus.
There is no other way to life and to true inward peace than the way and discipline of the cross. Thomas à Kempis
carry the cross
Yet here is the beauty of this so very difficult truth: when you are willing to carry your cross, it will end up carrying you.
When you choose to pick up your cross and follow Jesus, that cross will take you to a place where all suffering comes to an end.
May God grant us this gift of being able to come to Him for love of Him rather than for love of what He can do for us.
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All photographs copyright Made Sacred. 2020

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