Over the past year and a half, God has been working on me to understand the concept of "take up your cross." Luke 9:23 says "Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his crosss daily and follow me.'" This has somewhat been a theme of my life, in fact it has really been my life! I remember writing in my journal this past summer about feeling as if I was "dying." There was a time I felt a need to "mourn." (Sounds kind of weird, I know). Over time, God revealed clearly that surrender does not take place without dying. That is why this verse does not leave any option. He clearly says, IF ANYONE comes after me, HE MUST DIE to himself.
In my devotional time recently, I read a statement explaining why Jesus was so blunt in this statement about following him. It said "His reason for this is simple: self cannot and will not follow Him, but taking one's cross results in death to self, and newness to life in Christ Jesus!"
The phrase "we must die" is not an easy one to digest. In fact, we will often refer to "cross" as some kind of burden we must endure and carry around with us. However, this is not what Jesus was referring to. Galatians 2:20 says "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."
So clearly, the cross we must take up is the cross of calvary. The cross of death. I came across this powerful statement as to why it must be the cross of death.
Miles J. Stanford writes: "May we cease to confuse the words 'a cross' with 'the cross.' Sometimes believers in self-pity bemoan themselves, and say, 'I have taken, or must take up my cross, and follow Jesus.' Would that we would lose sight of our 'cross' in His cross, then His cross becomes our cross; His death, our death; His grave, our grave; His resurrection, our resurrection; His risen life, our newness of life."
I have found that dying to self leads to living completely in trust of God. This has happened in our life. When we were going through the application process, we had to get a physical. It was during this time that the doctor found what he thought to be a nodule on Nikki's thyroid. The ultrasound came back negative, but the doctor wanted her to see a specialist. After an ultrasound and bloodwork, this past week the specialist diagnosed Nikki with Hashimoto's Thyroiditus and Hypothyroidism.
This entire process went from the beginning of July until about last week. We didn't know what was going on or what the problem was. The doctor even told us when he thought it was a nodule that it could be cancerous. As we prayed and struggled through this, the one thing God continued to show me was this: If you are going to say you trust me, you must trust me with EVERYTHING, including your lives!
Hoshimoto's Thyroiditus is an auto-immune disorder that causes certain things to attack the good cells in her thyroid because they think they are bad. This has resulted in her having Hypothyroidism, which is easily treated with some medication.
We wanted to share this with each of you so you can know how to pray for us specifically. Pray that we will continue to trust in Him through this process regardless what comes our way. Pray that Nikki will not have any other complications or issues result from this diagnosis. Pray that we will daily take up our cross (not a disease or struggle), but the cross of death, and die daily to live in the newness of His life!