“And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” (Matt. 10:38) There are quite a few plain, straight forward statements in the Scriptures that many who profess Christ do not like to hear, this is just one of them.
It is unquestionable, those who will not carry their cross will not be entering into heaven, there is no doubt, it reminds me of John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Same context, those who are obedient to the words of Christ will enter the kingdom, those who are not, will not. The “run arounds,” the “fixes” to these statements and others similar to them is where all religious organizations got their start, it is where all the false Bibles came from, and it is why we are in the great falling away. Disobedience, a sure sign of a non-believer.
This is not to say that we do not have our moments, those short spans of mistrust and doubt, but they remain for only that long of time, a moment, and then we ask for forgiveness, we ask for strength, patience, and a greater ability to trust without question. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13) This means just that, there are no more gray areas here in this verse than there are in the aforementioned ones, everything that you need to accomplish this task that He has set before you to glorify God will be given to you when and how they are needed, and always at the exact proper time.
Those who will not carry their cross, those who will not obey are those who are deceiving themselves, for they know the truth, yet they will not obey it, or they believe that the “modified” version of it will be just as acceptable to the Lord, “Close enough is good enough.” I am reminded of Saul in 1 Samuel 13:8-14 where he would not wait on Samuel to offer the sacrifices to the Lord. As long as it was done right, what does it matter who does it, and by placing himself in a position that was not set aside for him, he disobeyed. Good intention, wrong motive.
The cross we are given we are to bear, whether it be the continuing hope of Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled,” and receiving daily frustration, or those who hold fast in what the church prescribes as correct must be close enough, and those that rebel against it constantly to no avail, these are our crosses, what we want we cannot obtain here, those are the crosses we will bear until the moment we see His face.
Crosses are heavy, they hurt to carry, and whether it be one of frustration, righteous anger, a heart that is broken each day while watching the lost plunge willingly into the abyss, or brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering for the Lord’s name, crosses get heavy and our inclination is to put it down, to give up, to not take one more step. And them, at that moment, is when we feel the Lord helping us to take just one more step, these are some of the moments we know that He is with us, that He will never leave us or forsake us, (Deut. 31:8) that each step with that heavy weight, that sometimes-incredible burden, serves a purpose, the finest and most noble purpose any of us can serve, the glory of the Father.
I will not say how heavy my cross is, for some days I can barely perceive it, and others the burden is too much, the frustration of those who refuse to see or hear the truth, the knowledge that the person I just got done speaking to, if they die in the next moment, will die in their sins is too much somedays. I then feel His strong arms, not picking up that cross for me, it is mine, it is my responsibility to bear it, but He helps just enough to get me back on my feet so that I can continue down the path.
It would be wise to ponder those words, “Is not worthy of me.” We are responsible for our actions, no one is going to enter into heaven without a cross to lay at the gate first.