Have you ever thought about Jesus words when He said to “take up your cross”? I used to think that taking up my cross meant I was supposed to be accepting specific burdens from God. Yet in reality to take up my cross is actually about surrendering.
I effectively take up my cross when I surrender my plans and my will to God. When I choose to put His ways before my own. When I put my focus onto living my life surrendered to Him following His Word even when it’s difficult.
When I look back at this journal entry from two years ago, I am reminded of my choice to surrender ALL I had to the Lord. We had been doing life our way, living and working according to our plans rather than putting His first, and the fact that we were both believers makes it even more interesting..
We were going to Church regularly, involved in ministry, even reading Gods word. Yet, because we were hanging onto the comforts of our own life and making decisions based on self verses God, we were still living like Christian infants in so many ways.
Sometimes God does allow difficulties and suffering to open His children’s eyes… and ours needed to be opened to a much bigger picture as to the choices we were making and what was motivating those choices. We needed to shift our focus off of ourselves and allow Jesus to be LORD of our lives in EVERY way.
The funny thing about surrendering, is that it’s so easy to grab those surrendered things back. Choosing to pick up my cross has had to become a daily habit, daily surrendering the things of this life to the Lord and making the tough choices to follow Him, even when its not comfortable or easy.
When I surrendered my life…my home…my finances… my marriage and my family. I had to picture myself handing each of them over into Gods hands. Mike and I made a decision that we wanted to serve together, so we starting praying for God to open opportunities for this. When we surrendered our home, we had to walk in faith that God would provide, and He did and He still continues to. When we surrendered our finances, we had to trust that He would provide for our needs rather than our wants. When we surrendered our family, we had to be willing to even move away if that’s what God called us to… which He did.
The funny thing is, a life of surrender is not nearly as difficult as I previously thought it would be, maybe that’s because now we see how Gods hand of provision is in ALL things. The ugly lure to serve self is the biggest battle… our wants… our desires always striving to get in the way.
Do we fail to carry our cross… yes we have. Have we been caught serving self…yes we have. Thankfully God is bigger than our difficulties and He promised the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ to be our strength and our guide. Jesus sacrificed so much for us, how could we not be willing to sacrifice our will for His, and He is a God of Grace, always willing to forgive and allow us start over again.
At the time of this writing, God has answered our prayers to serve Him together in ministry. We have moved 10 hours north to serve in a Recovery position to a community that was badly flooded. God has provided for our financial needs, maybe not all our wants… but definitely all our needs. He has not only provided a home for us here where we are in ministry, but also one for Mike’s Mom back home.
We are so incredibly grateful for ALL of His provision, and so thankful that we learned what it meant to pick up our cross and follow Him.
Thank you for your Word. Thank you for teaching me how to best live my life through your Word. Forgive me Father when I behave more like a “hearer” of your Word than a “doer” of it. Help me Lord, to live my life doing all that your request. Lord God, today I give you my life – my home – my finances – my marriage – and my family. Lord, I desire to follow You and be the person that You created me to be. Help me Father to remove those things in my life that I place my focus on, so that my focus remains on you. Father God, would You become bigger and cause everything else to become less, alter my thoughts and desires to be directed towards You. Forgive me Lord, when I have cheapened Your gift of Grace, Your sacrifice, by continuing to do life my way, focusing on my wants and needs rather than accepting my cross that I am required to carry as a follower of Jesus. Father, I choose again today to lay it down to You. Teach me and help me to serve You better with all the gifts You have given me… Thank you Jesus. Forgive me Lord for serving You for my own self-gratification. Give me a hunger for those that are Lost. Open my eyes to see those that are searching.Thank you for reminding me that I don’t have to be anything other than who You created me to be. Everything I have and need is IN You. Lord, You know that it often feels like so much is weighing us down. We cannot see how we can come out of this situation we find ourselves in and be able to move forward. We start to see glimpses and occasional dots, but are unable to put the dots together for even a partial picture… yet, we trust You have a purpose and a plan even in this. Lord, we surrender everything we have to You and Your service, for the remainder of our lives. Use us Jesus, show us Your path and provide us with the means to do ALL You ask. You told your disciples to “take nothing with them”, that You would provide all of their needs. We are ready Lord, continue giving us the courage we need to take that step of faith. Open the doors that You would have us go through before they are closed for good Father. As well, we ask that You would close those that we should not go through, those that could lead us astray. Thank you for your promise that You would never leave us nor forsake us, and thank you for the provision we receive from you daily. In Jesus name ❤️ Amen
My Final Thoughts & Encouragement:
Friend, I’m not sure where you are on your spiritual journey, but if you are in anyway like me there will always be a battle to surrender our things and our plans for our future. This world entices so easily to our senses, we live in a world of consumerism and prosperity.
But like me, I’m sure you will also agree that none of these things actually bring long term happiness. That is because in of themselves they are empty. Having a good job that provides awesome finances is not in itself a bad thing, but if that is all your focus is, you will lack true joy because you will always be working and striving for more.
I spent years striving to succeed in my business, I worked long hours making a name for myself in the industry, yet it was never enough… it always required MORE… more time…more effort… more money just to stay ahead, the striving never ended.
Maybe this story is familiar to you, maybe you are farther along or maybe just starting to figure it out. I encourage you to hand it ALL over to Jesus. Do as I did and picture yourself surrendering everything that holds a place of honour higher than the place reserved only for Him.
This might be your career… your home… your children… your spouse or a myriad of other things. Pull them off the throne that belongs to Jesus and put them into His faithful hands. Ask him to show you how to follow His Word and put him first and foremost in your life.
He is faithful, He will provide in beautiful ways we can’t even imagine. He has had a plan for you and your life from before you were formed in the womb. He simply wants us to follow His plan rather than our own… and I promise you this… You will Never regret it, His ways are always better than ours.
Blessings, Janet ❤️Journey4JesusDo you know Jesus ? He’s waiting for you… ( click the link to learn more)