Last Sunday our community studied Jesus’ difficult words in Matthew 10:24-39.There’s a famous song talking about the wonderful cross and I love that song.  The cross is definitely wonderful.  But the cross is not only wonderful , it also has some immense personal application for us as believers.  Jesus tells us to pick up the cross (daily) and then follow him.  In our culture we have all kinds of definitions for what ‘cross-bearing’ means.  I read some stuff by Soren Kierkegaard where he asks the same question, he writes:

In today’s Christianity we take ordinary human suffering and turn it into a Christian example. “Everyone has a cross to bear.” We preach unavoidable human trials into being Christian suffering. How this happens is beyond me! To lose everything and give up everything are not synonymous. To the contrary, the difference between them is infinite. If I happen to lose everything, this is one thing. But if I voluntarily give up everything, choose danger and difficulties, this is something entirely different. When this happens it is impossible to avoid the trial that comes with carrying Jesus’ cross. This is what Christian suffering means, and it is a whole scale deeper than ordinary human adversity …
In ordinary human suffering there exists, unlike in Christian suffering, no self-contradiction. There is no self-denial in my wife’s dying a natural death – after all, she is mortal. There is no self-denial in my losing my possessions – after all, they are perishable. In Christian suffering, however, self-contradiction is necessary. It is this that constitutes the possibility of offense. Nowadays we can become or live as Christians in the most pleasant way and without ever risking the slightest possibility of offense. All we have to do is start with the status quo and observe good virtues (good-better-best). We can continue to make ourselves comfortable by scraping together the world’s goods, as long as we stir into the pot what is Christian as a seasoning, an ingredient that almost serves to refine our enjoyment of life. This kind of Christianity is but a religious variation of the world’s unbelief, a movement without budging from the spot.

Kierkegaard states that normal suffering like sickness or financial woes or relational troubles are not cross bearing.When I read his quote and Jesus’s statement about the cross I wondered if I’m really carrying the cross.  Or am I just living a cozy life with Christ’s wonderful cross as a seasoning?  Kierkegaard’s phrase of self-contradiction haunts me.  When was the last time that I said no in order to say yes to God?  At our meeting we tried to identify some areas where we’ll potentially carry the cross (I would love to hear some of your input):

–  Time
–  Comfort
–  Money
–  Eating
–  Words
–  Relationships
–  Service
–  Submission
–  ?  your thoughts