TAKE UP YOUR CROSS
Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
~ John 12:25 (NIV)
A tentmaker missionary in Morocco struggled with the issue of dying for Christ. He shares these words:
Is faith in Christ worth dying for? I quickly saw that if it wasn’t, I had no business presenting the Gospel to Muslims. You see, when a Muslim receives Christ, he faces certain persecution and possible death. How can I ask a Muslim to receive Christ as Lord if I have doubts in my own heart. If Christ isn’t worth dying for, He isn’t worth living for. On the other hand, if Christ is worth living and dying for, then we have a Gospel that is of infinite value to Muslims...
Ahmed came to see me one day, honestly sharing his fears with me about following Christ. He asked, “What if I go to prison?” This kind of question had always intimidated me; I wasn’t sure that I could ask someone to be willing to go to prison when I myself had never gone. Yet now I realized that it was Jesus who was calling him to take up his cross and follow, not me. This was between Ahmed and the Lord.
A thirty-two-year-old pastor works in Upper Egypt, an area of intense persecution for Christians. He runs a day care center, a medical clinic, a literacy training program as well as caring for the families of those in prison. He has been beaten twice by Muslim extremists and threatened daily with death. He knows they are trying to kill him...but he continues to daily bear his cross.
A leading pastor in Egypt shared about a parishioner who tearfully came for counseling. Young people she had trained at her work were recently promoted to be her supervisors. She was passed over solely because she was a Christian. The pastor concluded, “That’s the cross we must bear here in Egypt!”
The essence of these examples is that instead of exercising and asserting my will, I learn to cooperate with God’s wishes and comply with His will.
RESPONSE: Today I give my will over to God and comply with His will for me.
PRAYER: Lord, I want to cooperate with Your wishes and desires. Help me bear my cross for You.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.