By Phil Cumbia
In reading through Day 2, week 2 of the Bible for Life (BFL) study, I found myself in an all too familar bible study position; I was skimming to complete a task. Luckily the Lord had other plans. As I breezed across Luke 9:23-24 (take up your cross daily), I landed on one of George’s commentaries about cultural context (its on page 37). He describes the way in which a Jew would have heard Jesus’s words about a cross. I have read this verse countless times and understood conceptually ‘whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but who whoever loses his life because of Me will save it”. Today was the first day that it truly hit my heart. The command is to deny yourself. ‘Honesty, how often do I do this… even for my wife and close friends?’ I asked myself. I find myself daily trying to save my life. Jesus’s promise to me as I do this? “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it”. Period. The creator of the universe just promised me that. Looks like some life reworking is in store.
I’m humbled in a completely new way by the cross and the suffering that my Savior endured for me. It’s clearer than ever that the Christian walk is not a joy ride. If we are truly following Christ, we will suffer. James says however to consider it pure joy when we encounter trails. In this way endurance and steadfastness is built, but even if it wasn’t, we would be following in the example of our Savior and being treated the same way he was for the same reasons. In this life, there is no greater honor than to suffer for His name. Deny yourself and turn to Him. Take up your cross daily and take joy in suffering. Follow Him so that your life will be lost and thus gained.