The notion of carrying one’s cross is not a foreign concept to any of us, for carrying a cross in our personal lives is a simple matter of carrying a burden around. This is due to the fact that misfortune and sadness are inevitable aspects of our lives that are to occur. There are a lot of experiences in my life where I was personally required to carry a cross and suffer the negative consequences of carrying such a burden. I live with a condition named dermatographia, and it has proven to be a cross that I have to carry in my daily life, for something as simple as wearing a wrong type of clothing or taking off a backpack in a wrong manner irritates my skin, and triggers a painful reaction.
When I had first discovered the symptoms, I found that I had to rearrange a lot of the simple actions I had completed back then just to ensure that I prevented any negative and painful reactions. However, to this day, it is difficult to minimize these actions, and everyday I am sure to suffer a few episodes of the symptoms.For me, carrying a cross means that I had to make amends with the fact that suffering and illness is something that will always exists in our lives. It has undoubtedly taken me a long time to accept this without any resentment towards God, and to appreciate all He has done for me. Carrying a cross in my daily life means that I am accepting God’s gift to me, even if it is not in a way I would expect. I had to understand that an aspect of carrying a cross is also being open to accepting anything He gives me, for it would often be something that I truly need in my life, rather than something I think I need. Taking up the weight of such a cross means that I must not pass any of my suffering or bitterness onto others and make them suffer alongside myself.
Although it is healthy to share my burdens, carrying such a weight also means that I must not share to subtly attempt to make others unhappy.I feel as if many of the students at our school also suffer from carrying the weight of their own crosses. Stress is a big factor of the heavy weight many carry in their daily lives, and integrating schoolwork with the heavy expectations of their social lives may take a toll on them and lead them to wonder why they might have been given such a burden. Learning to happily accept the burden they’ve been given is something that a lot of them will struggle with encompassing, but it is an essential component that comes along with the burden of carrying a cross.In Matthew 16:21-28, Jesus explains to his disciples that he came into the world to suffer and be killed, only to be raised to life on the third day following. Peter, unable to grasp this, doesn’t believe that Jesus should suffer and voices his opinion–he says exactly what Satan would in order to tempt Jesus to use His power for selfish reasons and avoid His death. However, Jesus then says something to his disciples which can mean two different things.
The quote “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” can be taken into a harsh, literal context, meaning that if anyone were to want to follow Jesus, they must carry a literal cross of their own and walk after Jesus. Also, if they want to live they will die, but if they die in Jesus’s name, they will not actually die, for they will have found life.
However, this was not meant to be taken into a literal sense, and was meant to be given in context.The contextual meaning of this is that if someone wants to follow Jesus, it must be in a manner that is sincere, and they must be able to accept and be prepared for hardships and suffering. “Denying” oneself is simply resisting Satan and his temptations to make our own lives easier. Jesus tells us that if we are to follow Him, we must do as He says, no matter how hard that may make our lives. He knows and tells us that the journey to following Him is a hard one that will require us to undergo pain and suffering. He tells us this to ensure that we are aware of this before we make the decision to follow Him.
However, He promises that at the end of the road, a substantial reward waiting for those who endured throughout the journey and the hardships it brings, managing to remain faithful to Him still.This passage proves how facile it is for a disciple of God to become a messenger for demons and Satan himself. Peter’s spoken outburst against the thought of Jesus being crucified essentially enabled himself to follow Satan’s will.
This, our only solution is to fight the influence of Satan with the influence of God and the Holy Spirit, built from prayer, meditation, and obedience.