Taking Up Your Cross

If you are involved in a missions group, you’ve probably heard of Jesus’ command in Matthew 16:24, where he said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (NIV). The cross was an instrument of execution that gave criminals a long and excruciating death. When Jesus spoke these words, He was asking His disciples to give their lives for the gospel.

Thankfully we live in a country where we are free to proclaim God’s truth. However, the fact that we don’t face physical persecution does not excuse us from actively obeying Christ’s command.

In fact, Christians in America definitely relate to one element of Jesus’ experience in taking up His cross—ridicule. Matthew 27:27–30 describes when an entire company of Roman soldiers relentlessly mocked Jesus. They dressed Him up as a king, gave Him a twisted crown of thorns, spat on Him, and repeatedly beat Him on the head.

While you might not face physical persecution as a college student, you will probably encounter ridicule and scorn because of your Christian beliefs. Are you willing to defend the Bible in front of your peers? What would you do if your professor is an atheist and he asks you to submit a paper on your personal worldview?

You will also have opportunities to take up your cross outside of the classroom. In a world that celebrates relativism, people will most likely reject you for standing by biblical truths.

Even though we may not actually give our life for our faith, we will face persecution and hardships. Jesus’ words remind us that receiving Him involves rejecting the world. However, the cost of being His disciple is incredibly worth it.

Rachel Sinclair writes from Birmingham, Alabama, and loves to share people’s stories. Contact her at rsinclai@samford.edu.

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