The Right Kind of Life

The Right Kind of Life

When I was a kid, my parents had a family friend who spent the better part of a year carrying a wooden cross around town. For him, it was a way to start conversations about Jesus going to the cross for us and the cross he told us to carry.

Although Jesus never told us to carry an actual cross, he did say, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)

At first glance, taking up your cross might seem a bit extreme. It was a device of torture and death, after all, right? Who would actually want that?  It looks pretty restricting!

Jesus is teaching us the right kind of life he wants us to live. A life that is full of freedom and joy that comes from placing him first instead of ourselves. 

The Bible tells us that Jesus modeled this example for us. He said, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:17-18)

Jesus took up his cross and laid down his life so that you could have a real life and have it fully. (John 10:10) He denied himself and chose you. Now, Jesus is asking you to deny yourself and choose him instead.

It means putting your desires, ambitions, and feelings aside and following Jesus instead. It means making him Lord of your life instead of you. It’s saying, Jesus, you’re the center of my life, not me.

It’s not always easy. Sometimes it seems impossible, especially when facing something painful, tempting, or hard to understand.

It’s during these times you need to rely on the Holy Spirit. He will give you the strength to deny yourself and put Jesus first. 

It’s also why you must surround yourself with a community of believers who will encourage you when the cross seems too heavy. Remember, even Jesus had Simon to help him carry the cross to the place of the skull. (Mark 15:21) So don’t think you can do it alone. 

In short, if you want to live the right kind of life God wants, you must choose Jesus above yourself. Then you will find the joy in life you’ve always wanted.

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