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Smyrna: The Measure of Faithfulness (part 2)



Jesus never spoke of discipleship without referencing the cross. Perhaps the most familiar of these references is found in Luke 9:23, where Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me” (NLT).

Often I hear people apply this verse as a means of coping with an adversity. When describing a hardship, they tag it with “I guess that this is just my cross to bear.” Your problems are not your “cross.” Your cross is the cost of your daily commitment to live life in full obedience and surrender to Jesus Christ. When we choose to carefully follow Christ we simultaneously acknowledge that the decision to follow will be accompanied with a price. It’s not a one time cost, but an ongoing sacrifice. Paul called upon the Roman believers to make it a daily practice to climb on the altar as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). He further acknowledged that crucifixion is a daily part of our Christian discipleship (Galatians 2:20). So how does the cross and cross bearing help us understand discipleship?

Years ago I heard a person describe the three characteristics of someone on a cross.
1. A person on a cross can only face one direction.
2. A person on a cross is there at the will of another.
3. A person on a cross has no immediate plans that are his or her own.

Its impossible to unpack everything there is to know about discipleship in one simple post. But if you want to understand it at its most basic level, remember that Jesus always framed the conversation with the cross. If you center your discipleship on the cross you’ll follow faithfully.

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