and he said to all, "if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. for whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. for what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? for whoever is ashamed of me and my words, of him will the son of man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the father and of the holy angels." - luke 9:23-27
i've had a few dear friends heavy on my heart this week as they've faced various kinds of trials. & as my own little family enters this new season (one that is much more peaceful), i've found myself struggling to adjust to such a simpler way of life.
these verses were part of the text we went through on sunday. & oh, how they encouraged me. i was freshly reminded of the truth about suffering in this life. & about grace. about how jesus suffered. & why he chose to suffer. before entering into his glory. so that we can enter into glory with him.
and so, we must suffer as well. while he suffered so that we can be accepted by god, we suffer for his glory. & for our good.
in this new season, i've been thinking about what it means to me to "take up my cross daily." living here, i don't put my life on the line for my faith every day. most of us don't suffer beatings, or stoning, or imprisonment.
yet, we still suffer.
but by god's grace, many times we are suffering on a different level. it can be as simple as denying our flesh daily. denying our natural tendency toward self-absorption. & instead, being actively focused on the glory of the gospel. & the promise of our redemption.
how does that look in my life? right now, i think it means waking early, before my boy, to spend time in the word & in prayer. to orient my day towards what really matters. it means serving selflessly, even when i'm tired. it means crying out to the lord on behalf of my loved ones. because, there will come a time again where i will suffer more intensely for god's glory. & i want my heart in a posture of preparation. & of joy.
following jesus is costly. & there are times we will grow weary.
but i've realized--it is worth enduring.
it is worth it for so many reasons. to be one that god uses to bring glory to his name. to bring about the redemption of those that are apart from god. to speak volumes of the power & provision of our holy father.
it will be worth it when this life is a mere breath of a shadow. when we stand there on that day. & hear the words well done, faithful servant. well done, my child.
so take heart, dear friends. i hope these truths refresh to your soul, as they have mine these past few days. for we are fighting a winning battle. wrapped in the arms of one that has suffered more than we could ever imagine. the one who knows just what we need to endure what is before us.
the one who loves us so.