Clara Molina, a member of the Southern Baptist Hispanic Leaders Council, is a conference speaker and author of “A Legacy of Wisdom: Wisdom and Encouragement from Women in the Lives of Adam, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, and from the Ministry of the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul” and “Oh No! My Husband Is the Pastor.” She and her husband Bruno, evangelism associate for language and interfaith evangelism with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, have two grown children and two grandchildren. She holds a master’s degree in Christian school education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is pursuing a doctorate from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
There are Christians who say, “What a cross to bear! How long am I going to suffer?” They might think that carrying their cross means surviving a long-standing difficult situation, enduring abuse by another person or suffering from a long-term disease.
Carrying your cross, however, is not enduring an abusive mate, putting up with a partying neighbor who doesn’t let you sleep on weekends, dealing with a coworker who makes your life miserable or suffering a prodigal son who does not follow after God.
For the Christian, it goes much further.
To carry the Christian cross means dying to your own desires, suffering persecution because of your faith, even to the point of losing your life for following Jesus Christ.
Although carrying one’s own cross is unique to every Christian, we all have the same goal of sharing the Gospel. Although it can prove dangerous in many countries, Christians can suffer persecution anywhere in the world. Carrying the Christian cross is not easy because it requires sacrifice. As our Lord Jesus, the one who suffered the ultimate persecution, said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24, CSB).
To prepare to carry his cross and follow Christ, the Christian needs to:
Turn from selfishness, start seeking holiness.
Deny yourself and put Christ first (Romans 12:3, 2 Corinthians 5:15, Hebrews 12:14). The self-centered person cannot love, follow or obey God properly and pursue holiness. The Christian cannot think of me, myself and I. The selfish person only cares for himself, puts his desires and needs first, and even hurts others to fulfill his goals because he does not have “ambition for the mission”(1). The mission is to love and obey God while sharing the Gospel regardless of the circumstances.
Learn to serve with a clean heart and no personal agenda.
Serving is a sacrifice of worship and a way to imitate Christ who said, “… the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:18). The Lord knows our heart and the reason behind all we do (Psalm 51:10, Psalm 27:8).
Offer his/her time to God.
The Christian must spend time in prayer, reading and meditating in His Word, trusting and waiting on God in order to discern His will. As the psalmist wrote, “I have asked one thing from the LORD; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the LORD and seeking him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
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Source: Baptist Press