Taking Up Our Cross

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

          The kingdom of God in many ways is upside-down. In His kingdom, leaders are servants, the last are first, the mature must be like children, and (perhaps the most counter-intuitive) whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Christ will find it. Rather than thinking of this as illogical, Jesus explains how the supernatural life is meant to be lived.
          Miracles do not follow the rules of the natural, but they do indeed follow the rules of the supernatural. God never breaks His rules, and He is trying to help us understand the framework on which He built all of creation. Sin has blinded us to thinking that the way in which we save our life is through our hard work, our effort, and our intelligence. Sin praises the ingenuity of humanity and finds hope in the work of people. Sin has blinded us into thinking that the natural world holds the solution to the brokenness of the natural world.
          What if the solution to the brokenness of the natural world is inherently designed to be found in the supernatural? We see this solution (or salvation) to be found in the hypostatic union of Christ, where Jesus is both fully man (natural) and fully God (supernatural). Jesus calls us to follow Him, because He is the bridge between the natural and the supernatural, the bridge between God and man.
          The passage across this bridge comes at the cost of dying to ourselves. In order to find life in Christ, we must first let go of our own lives. This is not a call to self-destruction, but a call to submission. Jesus does not desire for the end of our lives, as His invitation is to eternal life, but the path to salvation begins with a letting go of the natural. Jesus wants to carry us into the kingdom of God, but we must let go of our flesh and our desire to be of this world. The more we let go of the world and all that is in it, the more we begin to understand the beauty of His creation and the reality of His redemptive plan.
          The call is to take up our cross and follow Him. It is a call to submit to the Word and point our hearts to the eternal rather than clinging onto the temporary. We must fix our eyes on the cross with the hope that Christ will save us. Our faith which is a gift through the grace of God, leads us to find eternal life through a letting go of our earthly life.  

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