Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple
The Promise of Pain
Jesus never promised that following Him would be easy. On the contrary, He said that the way is going to be difficult and the gate very narrow, and that’s why few are going to find it (Matt 7:14). The idea that trusting in Jesus and following Him would be easy and prosperous and make a person’s life happier is a different gospel altogether. The other gate that leads to destruction is easy to follow, and most are going that way; this broad path leads to destruction (Matt 7:13). Jesus promised pain for everyone who would follow Him and that all who do would have to bear their own cross, and anyone knows that the cross was a symbol of death, pain, and suffering. Today it would be like picking up your lethal injection or electric chair to follow Him.
Counting the Cost
So many people that I have witnessed to are not willing to be Jesus’ disciples, mainly because they love their life of sin. It is true that sin is pleasurable, but it’s only for a season (Heb 11:25). Yes, sin is pleasurable, but it is also fleeting, and the ends thereof lead to eternal death. Jesus said that if anyone were to follow Him, they must first count the cost (Luke 14:28). We must all ask ourselves at some point: Do we believe it will be worth the suffering to follow Him? Paul says that the suffering we now endure cannot be compared to what is coming someday (Rom 8:18).
The Gain in Pain
We know that everything we go through will work out for our best (Rom 8:28), and even the pain we now endure will produce a steadfast faith in us (1 Pet 5:10), so it shouldn’t surprise us that we will go through a lot of fiery trials and suffering (James 1:2-4). Jesus didn’t promise that it would be easy, but just the opposite. We will all have to experience afflictions, despair, persecutions, but this never means that we’re forsaken (2 Cor 4:8-10). Jesus said we’re all going to go through some tribulations, but in Christ we can have peace (John 16:33). The promise of pain is godly gain.
A Closing Prayer
Oh Holy Father, please help me to endure the pain, the sufferings, the persecutions, and the oppositions of the world and to accept that the way that leads to eternal life is going to be hard, but I would rather have the narrow, difficult path that leads to life than go down the easy, broad path that leads to destruction. I thank You, Lord, that even though the way is narrow and hard, there is at least a way in the first place, and it is in Christ’s righteous name I pray.
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