Taking Up Your Cross
I knew since I was a sophomore in high school what I wanted to do with my life. My family has a history of military service and I desired to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps and serve my country. I wanted to serve a higher purpose. Average wasn’t enough for me…I wanted extraordinary. I wanted to be pushed to my limits. I wanted to be tested. I wanted to look back and say with pride that I was part of the elite. I set my sights of U.S. Army Special Forces…the Green Berets…masters of unconventional warfare.
On three different occasions I went into military environments and tried to pursue this dream. I enlisted, went to a military college, and even tried to reenlist. Every time God would pull me out and put me on a path towards ministry. I was very frustrated, but still obedient. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just pursue my passions and do what I felt came natural. I remember saying to God that I was doing this for Him and that it was my desire to go where few Christians tread.
The problem with this dream was that it was chock-full of “me’s” and “I’s”. I had figured out what I wanted to do and was trying to convince myself that God wanted that too. I was so consumed by the idea of being a “snake eater” that for many years I had trouble seeing where God was leading me. It had become my idol…my golden calf. It breaks my heart to say that I wanted SF so bad that everything else God was offering seemed second rate.
I spent the majority of my sophomore and junior years of college in bitterness. I was mad that I couldn’t pursue my desires. I was upset that God kept setting up road blocks in front of what I wanted. Sometime during my senior year of college God placed a thought in my mind that started to change everything. I felt God saying to me, “Chris, someday My desires will be your passions.” The weight and importance of this statement didn’t impact me right away…in fact it took about another year or so for me to figure out this truth. I wish I could say that my heart was changed within moments, but God was taking me on a journey to understand submission.
If you are reading this I think you can figure out who won the war. Now my desire and passion is to love, honor, and serve God with everything I have. I am so blessed to be serving God in ministry as a Student Pastor and a writer. Every day I want to preach Christ and God’s grace through faith. God allowed me to go all over just to see His grace and love and to understand where He wanted me. I am not writing this post just to share a cool story, but to share the turning point to a life of submission.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.For whoever would save his lifewill lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
Jesus sets the standard for submission in this passage. He states that if we want to be His followers we must be prepared to give it all. We must be willing to let go of all that we want and all worldly passions and seek Him. We must even be willing to pick up the tool of our demise and drag it after Him. This verse has helped shape the way I desire to follow Christ. This type of passion and pursuit is extraordinary. It is for those who desire to push their limits…those who want to be tested. Not everyone wants this type of lifestyle… it truly is for the elite.
God, by His grace has brought me to a point in life where I can honestly say that His desires are my passions. I have always said that Christ was foremost in my life, but I spent years with my affections elsewhere. I spent far too much time denying who God wanted me to be. I finally came to a point where I had to make a decision…would I serve God or my country? Would I deny self and take up my cross, or would I forfeit my soul? I choose God. I choose a life of submission to Him.
It is my prayer that no one has to take the long road to submission. Too many people try to live lives of partial submission…trying to balance somewhere between God and the world. I know…I tried it. There is nothing more important in this life than God and His gospel. In the end nothing else matters. It is my prayer that you too can experience a life where God’s desires are truly your passions.
Posted on November 4, 2011, in Christian Living, Leadership and tagged Christianity, Church, Church Ministry, Cross, Family Ministry, Pastor, Religion, Student Ministry, Youth Ministry, Youth Pastor, Youth Work. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.