Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Aligning our inner most being with God is not easy. Our words, our desires, our spontaneous reactions to situations, simply put, will collide with God's will and His ways. We, in our pursuit of him, following after him deliberately, are going to fall short. As Christians we must face our "Functional Atheism." What we say and what we believe often clash. Darkness seeps out and the light of faith remains hidden inside. We are meant to shine in this world needing HIM.
We believe God is in control. He works all things for the good of those who love him. So even in hard times we can praise him. Through every thing in our life we have hope because of him who is in us. We can do all things through Christ whom gives us strength. We, by his grace, can have strength to get through the hardest times, and through him we know neither heaven nor earth angels nor demons, nor any thing else can come between us and the love the Lord God has for each of us. We know, we know he always comes through for us.
Yet thoughts in our head come out our mouth in the form of functional atheism. "If that happens I will be soo mad." " If this happens I do not know what I will do!" "I will just roll over and die if that happens to me." " I don't know why people have to put High fructose corn syrup in everything... and Lactose... they say it has no milk then they slip in Lactose and my son gets sick.....oooooh I could just punch some one.... it makes me so mad!" "Health insurance is so expensive I just know soon I won't be able to afford it, I don't know what's to be done." "OH NO, I was around so and so and they were sick I am bound to be sick too."
We speak words of such anger, utter hopelessness. Why? Do we not truly believe God is with us always through thick and thin. Do we not trust in him with all our heart? We could speak words of encouragement, thinking on things above as it is written. We could be speaking life, instead we let slip out darkness and lost hope. I know that know no matter what, God is with me, and he will get me through the toughest times. I should be praising him for his faithfulness. I could be saying " God is faithful and I know no matter what I face he will get me through it."
So I take up my cross. I fall on my knees at it's heaviness and ask for forgiveness for the words that have slipped out of my mouth causing doubt instead of faith to be built up in the people I know and love. I acknowledge my inability to live with out the cross I hold, carried and died upon by my Jesus for me. I thank him and accept his forgiveness and feel the heaviness lift from my shoulders. He after all conquered, paid for, my sin which the cross represents. I stand and lift my head and see His love...so deeply for me. He sees me not with human eyes but with eyes of fire. He knows everything I will do and everything I will accomplish. He knows the mistakes I have made and the ones I have yet to make. He knows my faults and chooses to love me anyway. He sees things in me I could never even fully comprehend let alone understand.
There is something in each of us planted by God. Our value, he grows to it's full potential every time we let him. Everytime we fall on our knees and acknowledge we do not have it all figured out and we need him, Every time we look to him and ask for his help, every time we do not do things by sight but rather by faith in Him... we grow and who we are in Him grows. We are not more loved by him than before. We are not more valuable than before. But we are closer to him and begin to live out being-loved by Him. We move beyond the oppressive demands we impose on our selves, beyond the idealistic claims of the ego that tells us who we should be, must be, ought to be. As we draw close to our father we embrace his unmerited, unconditional love for us and live victoriously in it. Victory not from never failing, but rather from learning we can keep on keeping on, hope is to be had in every circumstance, love lives on after death, no matter what, He is who He is, and keeps His promises. He will bring to completion what he has begun in each of us. He will grow us to our full potential and not give up when to most, all seems lost.
I choose to live my life outwardly more hopeful. I shall rely on his words and bring my own thoughts captive before they spontaneously slip out as darkness instead of light. I choose to each day draw closer to my Father whom loved me so much he sent his son to die for me. I pick up my cross and follow Him. I will rely on his wisdom, his Spirit to guide the words I let flow from my lips. I will rely on his Love for me in order to teach me how to let my hands actively love others, helping, instead of hanging at my side idle.
In my modified words of Martin Luther King JR.
"If I can not drive may I run, If I can not run, may I walk, If I can not walk, may I crawl, if I can not crawl, may I no matter what , make sure I keep moving forward." May I keep on keeping on, letting Jesus do his work in me and through me!
Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.