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What is Our Cross to Bear?

Photo from: The Guardian

Ben Child, writing for The Guardian, says that actor Jim Caviezel claims that, since taking the role of Jesus in Mel Gibson’s 2004 The Passion of the Christ, he has been shunned by his own industry.

Prior to that film Caviezel was an established actor in Hollywood, but says he was warned by Gibson that if he took the job, “You will never work in this town again.” Caviezel says he replied, “We all have to embrace our crosses.”

His comment referred to what Jesus said to his disciples just after telling them that, as the long awaited Messiah (Matt 16:13-17), he needed to go Jerusalem to suffer and die at the hands of religious leaders, before rising again the third day (v 21). When Peter resisted, saying something like, “No! Never! Not you Lord!” (v 22), the Teacher went on to say, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 16:24-25).

Over the years I’ve thought a lot about those words. Since Jesus had not told his disciples how he was going to die, and that he was going to literally carry the weight of his own means of execution part of the way to Golgotha, his words to take up their own cross to be his disciples and to find “life” must have left them wondering what he was talking about.

On other occasions I’ve heard “having our own cross to bear” used as a way of characterizing almost any kind of difficulty that we have to personally endure in life.

For our Lord, his cross involved a willingness to suffer and die so that others could live.

In that light, then I’m left wondering, if the issue for Jesus was not suffering in general, but a certain kind of dying, what kind of self-denial would qualify to be called our cross to bear? What doesn’t qualify? And why is this worth thinking about?

Let’s talk about it…Have you wondered about any of these same questions? What do you come up with?

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52 Responses to “What is Our Cross to Bear?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, I would never want to trivialize the momentous nor complicate the obvious, but it would seem to me that “The Cross” was God’s will for Jesus. In all of His story, in all of its use for exacting the will of God.

    I clearly see the same for all the rest of us. We are all given a work for God, a plan for our lives, they in essence become “our crosses” and we must bear them.

    All different yet some similar, but ours singularly to bare and see through.

    It becomes individual, yet God will be seen through whatever circumstance it is that God has placed us in. It is for His glory and His enlightenment that we are given whatever life to live and through whatever adverse conditions and struggles and pain and suffering we endure, Christ is seen in our behavior and handling of the matter. Ergo “our cross to bear.”


  2. SFDBWV says:

    At some point in most everyone’s lives they feel as though there is something more they were meant to do. We who have given our hearts to Christ are no less different except that we now yearn to be used of God for His purposes.

    Many of us whether Christian or not, come to a place in life that will make us feel we are in a rut, stuck in a cycle that only brings us back to the same place over and over again.

    Frustrated we may attempt to break the cycle through some dramatic life changes, only to find ourselves back at the beginning again and again.

    It is in this time and even before that we are in training for that use God has always seen for us, even though we are unaware of it, and especially if we are in prayer to be doing more for Christ. It is during this time that God is honing our skills for His use at the proper time we are needed for His Glory to be revealed through us.

    Only after or during this time of actually being at that crossroad where we are now carrying our own peculiar burden God has placed upon us, are we able to see that we are, and see that in all of our lives up to that point we were being prepared for it.

    Even if God allows for us to see it, we may actually see that all along the way, and during our training period we were already carrying our crosses and burdens God placed on us as a way of influencing us and those around us.

    One important fact to remember, it is God who decides the weight of our crosses not us. If we attempt to carry a load God did not intend for us to carry we will fail.

    This is what happens to so many who go ahead of God and are impatient as well as desiring to be *important* in what they see as their place in doing Gods work.

    Your cross may be the same as mine, in that I am given a task to care for another. Not a huge popular well known evangelist, or reported healer or great Bible scholar, just someone who gives up their personal tomorrows for the needs of another.

    All for love and the glory of God and seen by others as the light of Christ, but from me just the right thing to do. When you are in that place then there is no more wondering what you were meant to do with your life.


  3. oneg2dblu says:

    “To carry the weight of his own means” The age of entitlement that we suffer from in this world, would have a problem with that statement. But,that is the very place where we meet our maker, bearing what He has given us as our blessing. Gary

  4. jamorr says:

    Bearing our cross may also mean embracing whatever circimstances God is using to bring us to the point of dying to ourselves so we can be fully used by Him.

  5. florida7sun says:

    The moment we are born is the moment we begin to die and begin our entry into eternal life.

    The Apostle Paul uses the word “agon” to describe “life on earth” in running the race:

    “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3

    Each day’s troubles can be agonies as we take up our cross. We stumble under the weight of it. Its splinters pierce our skin. We get nailed to it by someone we know, a supervisor, an official; all who utter an unkind word or give a glance of derision. Its chafing impairs our bodies with sores and disease of every imagination. Emotional distress and heartbreak comes in waves through heavy burdens. Here, on terra firma, the prince of the air lays it on us; hammering us to it.

    Yet, how wonderful is Our Lord and Savior!!! He is always there to carry the load. Every moment He proves Himself to be the resurrection and the life. Faith and prayer open heaven’s storehouse of grace and mercy. Yoked to Him we are energized and empowered.

    As I glory in His Cross I can lift my own through His Presence. Focused on Him I can do all things in Christ Jesus. He is all-sufficient in meeting our needs.

    I have always enjoyed seeing the reaction of baseball players surrounding home plate after a team member hits a home run and drives in a few men on base. There are “high fives” all around. Great elation and abundant joy is shared by all. Welcome home! Welcome home! Welcome home!

    About 30 years ago my wife and I chose to be baptized together by water immersion. Baptism does not save but is an outward expression of our joy in being one with Christ Jesus. As we dressed and returned to our seats in the congregation, Gary Carter (renowned catcher for the Montreal Expos and New York Mets) met me in the aisle; gave us both a big grin and joyfully shook my hand. Then and now, I will always remember that special moment as one where I was welcomed home by a Baseball Hall of Famer.

    A heavenly celebration and wonderful homecoming awaits all of us who have placed our faith in Our Risen Lord. He lives! Praise Jesus. In this life we may not be inducted into a hall of fame; but beyond measure is the peace we receive by having our names inscribed with His Blood in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

    There is a cloud of witnesses surrounding home plate cheering us on. Even though we still run the bases of life, we know the score. Victory has been won! As we step on each base carrying our cross, we can sing out Hallelujah.

    High fives await us at Home!

  6. oneg2dblu says:

    Ray, I would say that was a Grand Slam, but now I don’t have to. We are all in the game, from that Mom who packed the school lunches of that Hall of Famer, to the guy who cleans out the locker room, it is a team effort!
    Without some effort, we get no homers. We are all Blessed, as we team up together! Gary

  7. poohpity says:

    I was thinking how often when people have had suffering in their life they feel that is their cross to bear but I understand that to mean exactly what they said, “their own cross” not the “cross of Christ”. We all have suffering and pain in our lives but I do not believe that is what is meant by that saying. The Cross of Christ was what he had to do for the betterment of the world to know Him and His Father and for the fulfillment of scripture and the salvation of the world.

    Paul’s bearing of that Cross was what he went through to take that message to the gentiles, beatings, imprisonment, being ship wrecked and the list goes on. Or how about the person that losses their life to bring the gospel to a people group and get killed in the process. I believe what some call their Cross is just what life has dealt out to them and has nothing to do with any suffering for the spreading of God’s Message.

    In that Matthew passage it seemed to be speaking of living this life here with eternity in mind and denying what we would normally do in this life to give it all up to bring the message of eternity to those who are lost. It does not seem to be talking about the things that happen daily that cause pain or suffering in our lives. When we are living them to only satisfy the flesh and get through life in our little protected worlds that would be the part about denying self, that seems to be just existing.

    Before Christ we made choices that mainly had to do with this life and getting through it by whatever means possible after receiving Christ we start to do things with eternity in mind and the things of God which are further than our front door and not just considering this life but the next.

  8. Ken says:

    Hello Everyone,
    In keeping with this baseball theme I have always loved this quote from Ken Burns documentary.Specially the last line. I think we might be plaing baseball in heaven one day.
    It is played everywhere
    In parks in playgrounds in prison yards
    In back alleys and farmer’s fields
    By small children and old men
    Raw amateurs and millionaire professionals
    It is a leisurely game that demands blinding speed
    The only game in which the defence has the ball
    It follows the seasons
    It begins each year with the fond expectancy of spring
    Ending with the hard fact of autumn
    It is a haunted game in which every player
    Is measured against the ghost of all who have gone before
    Most of all it is about time and timelessness
    Speed and grace
    Failure and loss
    Imperishable hope
    And coming home.

    I am still dealing with my wifes cancer. Being her caregiver is the cross that I am bearing at the moment.
    I have found it not to be a burden but a joy. I have found what Jesus said to be quite true when He said, “Whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it.”

  9. northhighgal says:

    Any time a believer in Hollywood steps out and takes a stand for Christ is going to lose their status.

  10. davids says:

    Jamorr, you have said it better in one sentence than I could in paragraphs!

  11. royalpalm says:

    Hello, Mart and friends,

    Thanks for this topic and all the posts.Like Jamorr, I also believe that “your cross” are individual circumstances that God has placed in our lives as He works in us, and through us to accomplish His purpose in our lives and in the lives of others around us. By using the word cross, Jesus wants us to prepare ourselves for the hardship, ridicule, and opposition that may come as we follow Him everyday. I admire Jim Caviezel for recognizing that our crosses are chosen for us by God and to embrace them is submission to His will… As I remember him to the Lord, I rejoice that God will never leave nor forsake those who put their faith in Him.

    Take up your cross is the third in a series of 4 actions – It all starts with a DESIRE to come after Jesus. When one has this thirst and hunger in his life, the Denying, Taking up of the cross and Following Jesus will be a joy and privilege, rather than a burdensome chore.

    Jesus pointed out that there are 2 opposing desires – the desire to come to Him and the desire to save one’s
    self.The first helps us find the meaning of life itself while second avails nothing but emptiness.

    In John 6:44 Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Like David, let us exalt and praise our God and Saviour who creates this Desire in our hearts.

    Psalm 145:1,2″ I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever.Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever.”

  12. fadingman says:

    When Jesus gave his disciples the requirements of discipleship, he was only telling them what he had already done. Jesus had denied himself and taken up his cross long before he bore a physical one. Publicly, this happened at his baptism. It was his preparation for ministry and his open declaration that he lived not to accomplish his own will but his Father’s.

    Later, when he took up a physical cross and died on it, it culminated what was set in motion at his baptism. “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50)

    When I was baptized, I also declared my death to self and new life to God. I acknowledged the death sentence given me and took up my personal cross. Now life is a journey to an execution site (wherever that may be). Personal interests are history. I’m not permitted to lay down my cross or trade it for someone else’s. Even though a cross is a shameful form death, I am to bear it properly: humbly yet honorably. How can I know how to do that? By closely examining how Jesus bore His cross during His ministry years.

    This is the way I understand taking up my cross, but I haven’t attained it yet. On the way to my Golgotha, I still find myself laying down the cross at times and living for self. Hopefully, this will happen less and less often.

  13. poohpity says:

    Just for discussion sake, I would like to offer some other ways to think about this that goes beyond a daily life as a modern day Christian. When Jesus talked with the young man who was rich in Matthew 19:16-30 he presented him with the one area he was not willing to let go of to follow Jesus. Is there something in our lives that we are not willing to let go of if Jesus were to call us to do God’s will of going into to the world and making disciples of all nations, would you let go of the life you presently have to go?

    Are our lives presently filled with all Christian friends or family? Do you just go to church each week or during the week surrounded by Christian activities with Christian friends, bible studies and church related functions? How about when someone causes a problem in your life or harms you in anyway what is your response? When you see a person on the street corner asking for money, what is your response? What if a homeless person were to ask you for a place to stay would you open your home to them or even bring them home for a meal if you could hardly stand the smell of their clothes? Do you even read your bible everyday just because you want to spend time learning about the Lord and not because you are in a bible study? Would you leave the comfort of your home to go into the mission field if money was not an issue? Would you learn another language just to share the gospel with someone?

    The reason I ask these questions and there are many more that we could ask ourselves about what it truly means to deny yourself to do the will of God. Do you feel comfortable talking with someone behind you even at the grocery store about whether they have heard about Jesus or the people sitting next to you in a restaurant? This topic really has some deeper things to think about when it comes to giving up where you are to do things that the Lord asks us to do.

    When we care for a spouse, is it not because we made a commitment to them to care for them in sickness and in health as the wedding vows state or caring for a child who is disabled because we are their parent and that even those who do not follow Jesus would do those things. I think this topic of the Cross has far reaching implications about how much would we really give up to do the great commission or in serving others as the Lord has given us to do especially if we do not even know the person or even if they are our enemies. How do we even treat someone we are angry with?

    Really what would you leave to follow Jesus and do the things He has given us to do outside the comfort of our living rooms and televisions sets? Are our crosses really the pain, stresses and trails that many go through and have to live with?

  14. SFDBWV says:

    1 John 3:8 reads in part,” For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

    John 12: 27 “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.”

    John 17: 20 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”

    I would never, nor do I now present a scenario whereby any of us would be made to feel guilty of not doing some great work God has not given us to do.

    Here in the first two scripture verses it is clearly revealed that the life and especially the death of Jesus was His reason and purpose for being alive in the world.

    In the third scripture verse it is revealed that there are those who are also followers of Christ that it is not *given* to do much more than believe on Him.

    Christ’s purpose was the cross, it was God ordained and conceived from the foundation of the world.

    What then is our cross? Clearly it is the purpose of our being, and who has preordained our being; God.

    God has given us all our purpose in being alive and as we take up our purpose and follow after Christ, Christ is revealed through our life and living as an example of Him and His teaching.

    Every person is not called to preach or be an evangelist’s in a pulpit or stage; some are the quiet widow who gives only the little she has in humble submission to God. She is living out her purpose and following Christ. Her example given more attention than all of the pomp and circumstance people think makes them more *Christian* than another.

    Your purpose is God given, not generated by your own desires. When you take up your cross you accept the purpose God has placed you in and you follow after Christ in all that you do living out that purpose.

    Please friends do not place an onus around your neck that God did not put there, nor make others feel small or ashamed of something they were never meant to accomplish.

    Accept the circumstances God has placed you in and then live for Christ in all that you do and that God places in your path. This is you cross, bear it and serve God happily.


  15. Ken says:

    Thank you Steve.
    God bless you.

  16. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I wonder if asking all those questions is the cross you have to bear?
    For who could know the heart of others without asking?
    Perhaps it is the Christian’s cross to bear not only all the world, but all it’s questions. I think we should look more at the root of questions we ask, and who we are asking, then the answers we actually get! If we ask the world around us, do we get Christ as Lord in the answer?
    Why not ask the source of all truth, what His truth is?
    Today’s ODB really hit the nail on the head with its answer from Christ himself, about who we should learn from. Thank You Lord for the questions, we all get to answer for you today. Gary

  17. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA-ers!

    Mart, you wrote:

    “For our Lord, his cross involved a willingness to suffer and die so that others could live.
    In that light, then I’m left wondering, if the issue for Jesus was not suffering in general, but a certain kind of dying, what kind of self-denial would qualify to be called our cross to bear? What doesn’t qualify? And why is this worth thinking about?”

    Among quotes from Jim Caviezel on LIFESITENEWS.COM, is this one:

    “When the world looks at us, in complete and utter dismay, and asks why would you choose to suffer like this? But in that, that’s where the great strength is when God starts to work.”

    In the case of Caviezel losing work as an actor on account of his making Christian films, as well as adopting disabled children, I believe he stands on faith, which itself is a gift of God.

    I would venture to say he looks for the strength to make these choices daily. What possible motive could there be except to lift up the name of Jesus? It seems he makes a good living for his family and himself.



  18. poohpity says:

    I did not write that to make anyone feel guilty, Steve, maybe it is the Holy Spirit pricking us to do something. Those are things that I wonder about because we are all given talents and spiritual gifts to benefit the kingdom and bring people to Christ. Do we use those gifts to produce fruit or hide them in the ground. What is denying yourself and picking up the Cross, there are many ways to look at things.

    People do not have to do great things for the Lord every little thing counts. It is the body of Christ and everyone has their own jobs even the little toe or the body parts that are not even seen have a function but they all work together to build up and grow the kingdom.

  19. poohpity says:

    It is very admirable and hard to take care of those we love when they have cancer Ken or any other illness. I gave up my ministry to care for my mom while she was dying from cancer. Please understand that as long as you have known me I would never sit in judgment of someone who is caring for another and say it is not important. That had nothing to do with the questions I wrote and if I hurt you in anyway, please forgive me. Steve made it sound like I was shaming others that was not my intention at all that was how he viewed it which he was looking through his window, not mine. I think what you are doing is beautiful and is to be very much respected and admired because it is very difficult, very difficult and my prayers are with you and for you and your family during this time.

  20. SFDBWV says:

    This question of “What is Our Cross to Bear?” is not new, neither is the spirit behind it. Anyone who has become a believer has listened to gifted speakers, read from gifted writers, and in our world today, watched charismatic evangelists and healers on TV.

    All urging us to be all we can for Christ.

    As believers we all want to do exactly that, be all we can for Christ. Paul says it is ok to desire the gifts, but all are not given the gifts. Yet all will show the fruits of their life for Christ.

    How many of us have heard the comparison of the 144,000 Jews spoken of in Revelation as being like 144,000 Billy Graham’s? Even the speaker of such a statement places an image of believers as being something they themselves sees as a *successful* Christian. Which is an error and a false image of success.

    Christian success is the acceptance of Christ and then living out your life in obedience to His will for *you*.

    I am saddened Pooh that you think my remarks were directed toward your comments, they are not. They are directed towards the concepts I have spoken of in my remarks and have nothing to do with you except that they may be in contrast to your sentiments.

    My comments are in answer to Mart’s questions in his topic where he asks the very questions that I was addressing.

    Also Pooh you are in gross error to think that I would make comments with intent to debase you, and your assuming I have, has placed me in the uncomfortable position of setting the record straight.

    I do hope we are now clear on this matter.


  21. Ted M. Gossard says:

    Interesting on that actor! I do love aspects of that film, by the way.

    To be identified with Jesus is the issue, I think. That was what it was about in Jesus’ day. Jesus’ cross was unique, and yet his followers were to take the same road he took. What does it mean to be in identity with him in this life, in our culture–I think is the question.

    And it’s a matter of following Jesus by the Spirit in community, and on mission. But those are bedrock matters. How this is played out is so diverse. But it will end up living a totally different way of being human found in Jesus. A way that is relational to the core in loving God and our neighbor. A way that humbly lays down one’s life for friends, loves enemies, etc. That points others to the one in whom we live and find meaning in all things: Jesus.

  22. poohpity says:

    Steve you said, “Paul says it is ok to desire the gifts, but all are not given the gifts.” That is not what Paul says in 1 Cor 12:7-11 NIV. He says we are all given gifts according to what the Spirit determines for each individual to serve in the body of Christ and one is no more important than another. The whole chapter 12 speaks of this then goes into chapter 13 which speaks about love being the most important of all because one day they will disappear. My hunch is because if people do not use the gifts they are given they will fade away just like muscles atrophy when they are not used.

  23. poohpity says:

    A lot of Christians are not even aware what their spiritual gifts are so how can they use them to benefit the body. For any who are interested in finding out what their gifts are they can ask those very close to them and ask the Lord to show you what they are. They also have different tests you can take that can help find out.

  24. poohpity says:

    Steve you also said, “They are directed towards the concepts I have spoken of in my remarks and have nothing to do with you EXCEPT that they may be in contrast to your sentiments.” So they were directed towards my statements in opposition and that was exactly what I was saying by looking through your window, not mine.

  25. poohpity says:

    There is no problem with any discussion on the topic that is all OK we were asked to give our thoughts on the subject.

  26. gerpie says:

    Thank you Steve for your thoughts today – they have been a huge blessing to me.

    God bless you.

  27. bill34sl says:

    One of the weighty crosses to bear is found in Matthew 10:37. “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves son and daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me”. Certainly, Jesus was not talking about a cohesive Christian family here. Jesus conveyed in the ealier verses of this chapter that following Him would cause religious disagreement in families where some, if not most members are fanatics of other faiths or simply unbelievers. Are we willing and ready to forsake and be forsaken by our loved ones when confronted with this kind of situation? The apostles left everything they have and their families, never to return to them again.

    May The Good Lord bless all of you for bearing your crosses for His sake.

  28. BruceC says:


    Wow! God sure does work in strange ways! That is exactly the cross my wife and I have had to bear. But for my wife it has been the hardest I think. From my family I just get the “that-sounds-nice-but-inside-I-think-you’re-nuts-look” but my wife had to endure things like scorn and ridicule openly. People that make fun of her and say the Bible is full of errors and contradictions; all the while they themselves think that being a member of a particular church has given them a pass to heaven.
    Now my mother-in-law is in a hospital and is 86; and still she doesn’t hear my wife tell her of Jesus. She says she has this person or that person in her church. We have been told she will not be able to return to my sister-in-law’s where she has been living. She will have to go into a home; if she even survives the hospital. But many in the family are in denial. My wife is not.
    Please pray for my wife, her Mom, and the rest of the family.
    We both know how hard it is to have to see family members reject the Gospel and relegate Jesus to either a nice guy whose birthday we celebrate; or to one Who is not as important as adored people in a church they attend.
    May our Lord break the scales off their eyes.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  29. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Bruce —

    Thank you for sharing the struggle to “lift high the cross” in your and your wife’s life! You wrote:

    “We both know how hard it is to have to see family members reject the Gospel and relegate Jesus to either a nice guy whose birthday we celebrate; or to one Who is not as important as adored people in a church they attend.
    May our Lord break the scales off their eyes.”

    It seems to me you have nailed the topic very well, just by expressing both the struggle believers in Jesus face — as well as the understanding that there is nothing we really “do” about the lost persons around us (family, neighbors, strangers…).

    Only the Lord can impact lives. Sometimes he uses us, and sometimes we stand there as the blessed Holy Spirit comes in for a landing and accomplishes the work we have prayed for years to see! Jim Caviezel has a witness in the film industry — so, we see him bear his cross for Christ in high profile.

    Christ calls each of us to be bold where we are living — to share the peace and joy that have been given to us by this King of kings & Lord of lords! We just never know when the Spirit is going to breathe on a word or an action we offer!

    Perhaps we can ask ourselves at the end of each day: Did I bear the cross today? Did I boldly give up my own reputation, my own “cool” to embrace His person and his presence? Was I a “fool” for Him today?

    Thanks for your witness, Bruce. — Maru

  30. oneg2dblu says:

    To Bruce C and all others here who suffer to see the lost around them, “May the Peace of Christ reign in your hearts, lighten your load, and Bless everything you bear for Him.” Gary

  31. fadingman says:

    John proclaimed “He must increase and I must decrease”. And yet, it appeared to John and others around him that Jesus was decreasing. He was not taking up His expected role as deliverer of Israel. This confused John enough to later ask Jesus if He was the One who was to come.

    Jesus’ life on earth was a continual descent into humility (i.e. telling His disciples refrain from telling the people who He is, washing His disciple’s feet, submitting to a shameful death, etc.). Jesus’ motto could have been similar to John’s: My Father must increase and I must decrease. Humility is part of taking up my cross also.

  32. poohpity says:

    bill and Bruce in my reading this morning there was a verse that I thought fit what you were saying Acts 5:41 NLT.

    Just as your name implies fadingman, it would be nice if that is what the world saw was less of us and more of Jesus but that takes setting aside our desires/will and doing what the Lord has gifted us to do.

  33. bill34sl says:


    I’m sorry to learn about you and your wife’s situation.
    I’m not a very commendable Christian but sure I have been praying for people like you and me who bend their knees to the Lord our God asking for mercy. I know how your wife feels. Before my mother died at age 78, she was rejected by all her siblings except one.

    Lord Have Mercy.

  34. lovely says:

    Well for me the hardest part about denying yourself is obedience. I sacrificed so much only to find out that yes all this sacrifice is good but now what God’ve ask of me.
    Speaking from someone who just came back from the mission field


  35. oneg2dblu says:

    lovely… what a lovely name. You have answered everything Mart was looking for in one word, you have defined Obedience, and Obedience is the Cross we bear!
    To me, it is the “one word” that brings us life everlasting, blessing beyond compare, and a living relationship with God Almighty. Without that one word, there would be no mission field, no workers for the harvest, no followers of the way, and no Son, always doing His Father’s Will! Obedience to the Word of God separates us from all humanity. It is the mission field of every believer. Thank you for “your obedience” to His Word. Gary

  36. SFDBWV says:

    In looking at this topic from a personal experience I can give you all a life story that is long and entangled with God acting always on my behalf even when kept in circumstances I would never choose for myself.

    However for now I will simply give the most obvious example of a person who dies of self for another. In the truest fashion of intended purpose I would call her a *Wife and a Mother*.

    She gives up career, gives up self, gives up meals, gives up personal dreams, all for her family and especially for her children.

    The sacrifice of this woman and her desires are well known and even are given special notice in Proverbs 31: 1-31.

    Jesus even gives special attention to any who give up their life for another John 15: 13.

    If you give up your life for another in whatever way God has given you to do so, you are doing exactly what Christ wants for us to do; to serve others is to serve Christ.


  37. oneg2dblu says:

    Unfortunately, we have teachers today, some very popular and powerful, who preach a doctrine where even conscious disobedience, or sin, is even rewarded in a twisted form of salvation.
    Thank God, Paul was obedient to God’s Word, and he told us about them as they teach another doctrine, another gospel, and mislead multitudes in their doing so.
    “Any disobedience is total disobedince, as all sin goes against the word of God.” But for those who find this teaching a little too extreme, or too legalistic, they follow where teachers allow for a little here and there without consequence, they make a list of allowances, where their itching ears get what they want!
    But, that would be IMHO.
    Sacrifice everything for obedience to God,and leave the consequences to Him! I beleive that taking just one little bite, was the same as eating every apple off that forbidden tree! Once we are allowed to acquire a little taste of sin… Where does that take you?
    I was just thinking about this, “How small of a bite did Eve take, before she found out it was good enough to pollute the entire human species?” Gary

  38. florida7sun says:

    Gary and Lovely, reading your posts this morning, I have to agree that “obedience” is the key that opens the windows of heaven.

    Not obedience to a formula, a person, a vision; but obedience to Our Lord and Savior. In humility and dying to self we come to Jesus and “surrender” to Him “unconditionally.”

    No demands; no ifs and buts; no self-help programs; no works; no idols… absolutely nothing. We have nothing to give Him but ourselves. In surrendering we simply plead with Him to live His life in us, day-by-day, moment-by-moment.

    We take up our cross, which is His Cross. He will guide us into all Truth.

    “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” – James 4:7

    Spurgeon writes, “Beloved Christian friends, be willing to accept whatever God appoints. Let us each pray to be:

    “Simple, teachable and mild,
    Awed into a little child;
    Pleased with all the Lord provides,
    Wean’d from all the world besides.”

    I have discovered that to be in His Will is to be in His Presence. In surrendering unconditionally He guides our thoughts, our words, our steps, and our destiny.

    His Word is our Lamp, and His Spirit is our Comforter.

    Every breath we take He graciously gives. We can rest in His assurance that He is Sovereign over all. Nothing can happen to us that is apart from the Will of Our Father.

    Therefore, we pray as Jesus taught us in His Sermon on the Mount. – Matthew 6: 7-15

    Grace and peace, Ray

  39. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… trusting God and serving others was Christs’ examlpe to his disciples, and the rest of the world as well. It is a most noble mission field you have chosen to work in. I say chosen because you get up every day and make that supreme sacrifice for others, over yourself. You bless us all in so doing, and sharing it with us. Gary

  40. oneg2dblu says:

    I never play the numbers game any more, but there is a number that we all can relate to, _ _ _, that represents evil. It palys well to John 6:66 message, as We can “all” choose to turn from Christ. I try to never forget that. So, obedience to me is paramount to staying connected. Remembering “Who” is number one in your life every moment, certainly does not hurt either! To God be the Glory!
    Prayers to you Bruce and your wife as you bear the unbearable for others who refuse to know what your cross for them is.
    We can take every concern to Our Lord, and He bears it with us, if it is within His Will, He hears our every plea! Gary

  41. poohpity says:

    Mart, in the last four paragraphs of this topic it has really made me ponder which are the things we suffer just in normal life that are due to the fall of mankind and are the things the world has offered us as a consequence of that fall and which things are really meant by that Matthew 16:24-25 NLT.

    I looked at the preceding verse Matthew 16:23 NLT. Jesus rebuked Peter for thinking in terms of the world and not recognizing that God’s way is different. This morning while reading Acts 7 and Stephens last words in Acts 7:60 NLT shows what denying ones self really looks like from an eternal view point.

    So I do not believe that the daily struggles we go through just because of life are what Jesus was speaking of as “deny himself and take up his Cross and follow me”. I think that one is what every person alive has to go through just being in the world but to those who are mature in their faith the actions that one takes that are totally opposite of the things the world teaches like putting Christ above all else or answering anger or hatred with gentle words and being a peacemakers may be a better example of denying self and following Jesus.

    I am not trying to down play the strength that God gives us to go through pain, struggles and suffering but what people go through because of what they believe and carrying the message of the Good News and turning the other cheek rather than fighting back. Or when someone asks you for your shirt give them your coat too or when someone ask you to carry their bag a mile you carry it two. Or stepping out in faith when we do not know where the road leads but we know that God asks us to go. Those seem to be what Jesus was speaking of when He asks us to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him.

  42. foreverblessed says:

    This same verse has kept me busy too, “bearing our own cross”, what did Jesus mean.
    I thought it was: as Mart said: the difficulties in life we all have to face, in order to grow in faith in Jesus. Which we also will have to do.
    Or the suffering with Jesus for the furthering of the Gospel, which is also true, but does this verse talk about that?
    As Pooh wrote, the connection with the other passages is Matthew 16
    But lately I was instructed by a bible teacher, who said:
    The cross we have to bear is the cross on which we crucify our old self.
    Because Jesus’ cross was only His to bear.
    So in order to follow the beautitudes, and to obey the command to love the other as Jesus has loved us, our old self has to be crucified. My old human nature does not want to love my enemy, does not want to listen to difficult people, does not want to bless them. My old human nature wants to get even, wants to reprimand, wants to strike back. I have to kill that old self, and for that I carry a cross daily, the cross is already there if we carry it as Jesus told us, He knew we had to use it often. Otherwise we could put it in the shed, and take it out when needed.

    For the furthering of the gospel, we will suffer, there are other scriptures that talk about that. Romans 8:17
    1 Peter 2:19, 20, 21, Colossians 1:24 the suffering that is still lacking: so Jesus continues to suffer for the lost, and He does that through us.

  43. lovely says:

    thanks for all the sharing and steve you nail the right point about sacrifice, God must be speaking through you cause my mother died 10 years ago and i believe she died sacrificing herself for us.She did what vs Proverbs 31 says.nevertheless God uses this situation cause i hear God’s voice more intently through those years of suffering.
    God brought me to countries where orphans are everywhere and i can hear him speaking through all this children
    Ray, Gary , steve thanks for the encouragement on giving up your life for another in whatever way God has given you to do so,and God’s word being our lamp and holy Spirit as well.
    Pray that we can all carry our cross daily
    God bless


  44. SFDBWV says:

    Kind words of encouragement are like a soothing balm to my spirit, I want to thank you all for your comments toward me. It reminded me this morning of how few people gave Jesus thanks for even His miraculous healings.

    It is the one little event that escapes many of us that one small thing we can do, make another smile or feel good and perhaps just for a moment lighten the load of our cross.

    Thank you all for making me smile and feel good today.

    I pray as you bear your own crosses today you do so knowing God loves you, has not abandoned you and gives you the strength you need to carry on. He is present with you always.


  45. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    I do not follow Hollywood news, but after taking a brief look at Mel Gibson’s woes at present, I see that there may be more to the conversation between him and Jim Caviezel — almost a prophetic tone. Both have faced being excluded from acting opportunities — seemingly for different reasons.

    What qualifies as a cross in our own personal struggles and anguish? The cross on which our own worldly-minded flesh is crucified is one thing — the cross we bear willingly. Mel Gibson, I believe, is in a crucible (Proverbs 17:3) of testing and purification at this time. I say this without, I hope, judging the matter in any way.

    Is public disclosure of our moral failings and wrongs a cross to bear — or a fire of testing? Is such anguish sent by the Lord to purify us and take out the dross?


  46. oneg2dblu says:

    Ray… thanks for that confirmation about obedience as a key to opening the windows of heaven. Although we have not been allowed yet to suffer to the point of shedding blood and death, we must carry our cross to that appointed place that God has set before us today.
    If it means holding our tongue and not expressing a negitive emotion, not dwelling on a hurtful infliction others have caused us, then it is ours to bear. Then, it becomes our reality that our nature does not like, but our God-given spirit does, as we obediently resist and overcome our nature to strike back. These words which I’m quoting by another here, who’s name I’m failing to find right now, do ring so powerfully in my soul that they certainly are a cross to me. “Never under any circumstances taking revenge over something done, even an evil done against us.”
    What a Christ-like place to fasten our psyche, when pushed by the extremes of evil in this world.
    I realize it was posted in the last topic, but it applies so beautifully here, as the Will of God for every believer who must suffer that cross of evil today. “In obedience to hearing your word Lord, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory Forever.” I ask that we are blessed today to hear for ourselves, the Greatest Song Ever by Andrea Bocelli, or the Lord’s Prayer by Charolette Church 10-7-2007, which are my favorites. As either one penetrates my worldly psyche, and His Blessings flow down my cheecks, I realize I’m not witnessing worldly performance, but the actual sharing of a God-given gifting, as God Provides! Gary

  47. remarutho says:

    Hebrews 12:6

  48. poohpity says:

    Mart you asked, “And why is this worth thinking about?” I believe that sometimes we have God all wrapped up in this little box to suit our thoughts when in reality there is no box that is able to contain all there is to learn about God. When we get our thoughts pressed in another direction to really look more fully into what things mean we may become offended because we take things personally when it would behoove us to continue our search to learn more so that we are able to get to know God better and better.

    I was thinking this morning because of ODB when Jonah was pushed beyond what he already knew or thought he knew about God and because his hatred towards the Ninevites was stronger than his love for the Lord he ended up in the belly of the great fish. How about Paul who’s hatred of the Christians lead him to persecution and murder but God closed his eyes to open them again. Or how about Peter that felt like he would not go into the homes of gentiles and eat with them because their food was not kosher and would defile him but God pushed him to a deeper understanding of Himself by spreading a sheet before him with all kinds of various non-kosher foods and said it is OK to eat those things which Peter felt were against the Lord.

    So looking a little deeper into what is meant by “what kind of self-denial would qualify to be called our cross to bear” whether it is the suffering each has to go through or if it means suffering for taking the word of God to others helps us dig a little deeper into what that may really look like. Taking God out of the box we have Him stuffed into and maybe looking beyond what we fell comfortable with may push us towards a better understanding of what we are called to do beyond our backyard. I know for myself it has caused me to think about what God’s will is for me beyond my little world.

    I was thinking about those women on that show last night about plural marriages and how those women say that they have to deny themselves and the jealousy they feel for the other wives and that brings them closer to God. Really??? So denying self can mean many things to many different people but is that what God had intended by “what kind of self-denial would qualify to be called our cross to bear”? My hunch is and trust me I could be wrong but I feel that it goes beyond the things that life generally deals out to what one can suffer for the spreading of the Gospel and salvation of mankind.

  49. oneg2dblu says:

    lovely… today’s ODB took us into Jonah, and reading further in 2 Jonah 8-9, “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise will sacrifice to you what I have vowed I will make good. I will say, Salvation comes from the Lord.” Was not Jonah’s cross at that moment, to sacrifice and vow and to make good, what he knew was separating him from God’s love as nothing other than turning from his disobedience? Gary

  50. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    It seems to me Mel Gibson has a unique friendship with Jim Caviezel:

    “A passionate Christian, Caviezel told the audience at the First Baptist Church of Orlando he had learned to accept that the destruction of his acting career was a price worth paying. ‘We have to give up our names, our reputations, our lives to speak the truth,’ he said.

    Though he labelled Gibson ‘a horrible sinner’, he said the actor turned film-maker should not be vilified. ‘Mel Gibson doesn’t need your judgment, he needs your prayers,’ Caviezel said.”
    (© 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited )

    It is godly love that leads Caviezel to pray for Gibson — and to call others to do so.

    Aren’t we all “horrible sinners” until we are cleansed by Christ’s blood?

    In Him,

  51. infiniti07 says:

    I’m curious and would be interested in reading the comments of the individual who voted thumbs down on this topic.

    Safe to say that all our collective “crosses to bear” doesn’t come close to the Cross of Christ and thankfully so.

    For many of us, and certainly for me, I’ve spent many years trying to figure out what is my cross that identifies myself with my faith, trust and belief in Christ. The best answer I have is that it should be “bearing one another’s burdens” and there is no end to seeing and hearing from professed believers about the struggles each one experiences in life. If I concern myself too much with what my cross is (which is summed up as pride of self) I will fail to see that others can be helped in some way and through helping others, I share in identifying in part with what Christ’s suffering is all about – his obedience to the Father’s will.

  52. lovely says:

    Gary , reading from Jonah 2 8-9 he is saying this while in distressed as you see he is still in the fish.. and knowing this is because of his disobedient he still give thansk to God and knew that salvations come from the lord..
    Sometimes when we’re disobedient .. we know we have to turn.. i have to admit.Sometimes the hardest part is not the fact that i can’t hear Him. But doing something that is hard to do.. like letting go of something.
    just like Lord i will sacrifice all this for you but just don’t ask me to let go of this..
    Just like asking a plumber to fix the leaking pipe .. but he just painted all the walls but leave the pipe leaking. Not exactly doin what you said..
    Praise God .. just like he never gave up on Jonah.. He didn’t gave up on me


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