2nd April 2017

Take Up Your Cross 

“Then he [Jesus] said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’”
Luke 9:23 (NIV UK)

Recently, filmmakers gathered with a cast of hundreds to create a fully immersive virtual reality experience called JESUS VR. They’re trying to do something that’s never been done before—put the viewer right next to Christ during his ministry, passion and resurrection. Now, with the right technology, audience members will be able to follow our Incarnate Lord and digitally take up their cross. But what does that mean?

We know that in the Bible, Christ instructs his disciples to take up their crosses and follow him. It’s interesting that he chose the metaphor of the cross, a symbol of pain and suffering, to paint a picture of what a life following him actually looks like. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise. We know that the disciples who heard and received this message were transformed. But even in that transformation, they lived a life in this present evil age. Today as Christians, we face some of the same hardships. But sometimes that difficult truth can get lost in the shuffle. Listen to how Christian author Flannery O’Connor puts it: “What people don’t realise is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross” (O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor).

Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying that God’s grace isn’t freely given. It absolutely is. We can’t earn it and we never could. Instead, Christ calls us to receive his grace, love and forgiveness and share in his peace, joy and hope. As we receive his grace, we enter into a lifetime of sanctification. Through our on-going relationship with him we leave things behind, we repent and turn to him in trust, in faith to receive more of his life. We die to ourselves and come alive in Christ. So, while God’s grace is freely given, it will “cost” us to leave behind what hinders us from receiving his grace and following him wherever he leads.

Christ has offered us a totally immersive divine relationship with him, one that doesn’t require virtual reality. I hope you’ll join me in faith and hope as we walk in this divine life with our faithful Saviour.

Heavenly Father, even after a lifetime as a Christian we still find difficult your instruction to follow you by picking up the burden of the cross daily. To be fair, it’s a light burden, you tell us, but it is a meaningful looking to Christ as to how to behave, how to think, how to speak. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach


About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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