Is it possible to take up your cross, to truly take up your cross and follow Christ and live like an American? God is beginning to convince me that it is not possible to live a life of comfort and ignore the cries of His people all around us. He is doing so through scripture. Through teaching. Through breaking me and making me uncomfortable in my own surroundings, in my own life. Through making me aware. Through reflection. Through conversation. Through relationship with a few key believers who are being challenged in similar ways. He is doing so intentionally. You see, Christianity should look Radical. Faith Based. Trying. Full of indescribable joy. Sacrificial. Scary at times. Necessary of trust in our God. Father. Master. Maker. Guider. Keeper. Healer. Provider.
As I sat and talked to a dear friend about this very idea yesterday I was so excited because I was talking to someone who gets it. Someone who wasn't just smiling and nodding at me, someone who wasn't just looking past me, or listening with eyes that said "that's radical and all good for you...but..." I mean, this friend really gets it, and this friend is really going to live it, which is so encouraging. And then, as I talked about my prayers for my life, he offered a solid challenge. I let him know what I was praying about when I graduate. Does God want me to:
A: Give up this life of comfort and move overseas to teach and work with children of another country for His namesake.
B: Give up this life of comfort and move to downtown Raleigh working with Hunter Elementary or another low-income school to renew this city for His namesake.
As I discussed my heart and my prayers he simply mentioned one thing that shook me. While it is important to pray for the future, we need to pray for now. We need to carry our cross now. This week. Tomorrow. Twenty minutes from now. How does God want us to live sacrificially, thinking of ourselves as the least of these RIGHT NOW? How does he want us to give it all up right now? Why wait?
And so I ask, are you living in a manner that shows that you are a follower of Christ? Are you carrying your cross? This is not just a phrase that we can pass over because we have heard it a thousand times, this is a life changing, uncomfortable, faith based lifestyle. It hurts. It means giving it all. It means following the Lord where it doesn't really make sense. It means moving into a smaller house, driving a cheaper car, and giving up the nicer clothes because that money should go to someone in need. It means going to the nations, even though you will give it ALL up, all of your comforts, because people need to hear the name of Jesus. It means looking like a fool around that girl in your class because you are standing up for and speaking up for the one who shed his blood for you. We can't be silent. We can't be still. We have to look different, radical. So why do so many of us look just like the world? Why do I have such a hard time living in a way that puts zero trust in myself, and all trust in my Father?
Lord, teach me how to take up my cross today. May others do the same, but should none go with me, still I will follow you. Help me lose my life in you.