by J. Grant Swank, Jr.Your Daily Cross Is God's Gift to You
". . .take up his cross daily. . ." Luke 9:23
The reason that the cross is not "once and for all" is because we need morning by morning to wake up to venturing toward Jesus.
It does not take much of the cares of this world to detour our attention away from Jesus. Very little confusion can send us on paths that were never meant for our souls' good. It only takes a few moments of pleasure or a second of pain to divert our hearts away from the heart of God. Therefore Jesus directs His own to clutch the cross anew with each new dawn.
Each new day is an unknown field; it may contain giddy surprises…or monotony…or even suffering. In any case, you do not want to miss out on what Jesus has to say to you in the suffering, the surprise and the boredom. He is always there as mentor. But if you are focused entirely on the event, you may miss the divine whisper attending it-and the eternal component intended.
So it is that each day is meant to deal out its own maturings. And that can only be done when you take anew your cross, venturing closer and closer to Jesus afresh.
Therefore it is wise for us to come to Him, to His cross with our name upon it, and so start out with the blank page of the new day. In that you will find a new dependence upon Him alone. Stale "religion" will reveal its inadequacies to you as you find the day's cross with Jesus standing alongside it.
See today's morning cross as the invitation to see Jesus, as if as if for the first time. He is eternally multi-dimensional. There is always something fresh and new for you to realize in your fellowship with Him. Therefore, when you find life becoming forced and wilted, realize that it is probably due to the fact that you have traded your alliance with Jesus for religion.
The cross, which we are to bear as servants of the Sinless Sacrifice, can be terrifying. It can hurt, deeply-mentally as well as physically. Yet the conclusion of all the anguish is to bring us to Jesus as our primary focus.
See that your walk with Jesus is simple. He said "Consider the lilies of the field...." Be like the lily, whose life is utterly simple yet glorious, giving forth its fragrance and beauty. The lily is simply there for the plain enjoyment of the Creator who formed it. Are you simply there for the enjoyment of your Creator who redeemed you?
The trifles of life get in the way of such simplicity. We are detoured constantly by the nettles. Therefore we constantly need to refocus our thoughts on Jesus. This is not learned in a moment; it becomes a lifestyle when we "work out. . .salvation in fear and trembling."
The cross is waiting at each morning's gate. Take it and come alive in Jesus, anew.
J. Grant Swank is pastor of New Hope Church in Windham, Maine