“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.”
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.”
Both of these pieces of Scripture hold so much powerful truth. I’ve read these before and seen lessons of discipline, hard work, and so many things but today I gathered a whole new outlook on it all. To start off I have to tell you of a dream I had and before you start thinking I’m crazy, this is really the dream I had last night.
I had dreamed that I was told that I had to be crucified. Yeah, seriously! This may have something to do with my habit of listening to sermons as I fall asleep but this was the dream, that I had to get nailed to a cross and die. After hearing this news I was shaking with fear, I remember thinking “no way, I can’t do that.” Especially after I looked around at my loved ones and my life, I wanted no part in dying much less the pain that would come in dying on a cross. I was literally terrified.
Then, during the dream, another person came up and asked to go up on the cross in my place. I was so scared and so afraid of what the pain would be like that I didn’t say yes, but I didn’t stop it either. I was going to let this other person sacrifice themselves because I was too chicken to face it myself. Then……
I woke up, shook, scared and honestly sweating a little bit. All from the thought of having to be hung on a cross til death. I don’t know about you but as a Christian, I’ve heard of what Jesus has done on the cross more times to count. After awhile, it sometimes can be of a lesser magnitude because of the constant hearing of this Good News. You know what I mean? Until, this dream and this new perspective of what the cross really means in my own life and so many others. That’s the death I deserved to have, and when faced with it in what felt like reality, I didn’t want any part of the pain and agony that goes along with it. Then Jesus steps in, takes our place on the cross and makes the sacrifice to save us from all the pain and struggle we face. Seeing it in terms of, “that should’ve been me on that cross.” It brought it to a much more real and personal perspective.
Jesus tells us on multiple occasions to take up our cross and here we see an example of how Jesus took up our cross for us. In our lives, we don’t face the threat of being crucified on a cross but we do face a lot of pain and struggle in living a life that is centered around picking up our cross, and dying to self. I don’t know about you but putting aside my selfish desires, my lust, my addictions and sins, it’s not easy by any means. But there is such a powerful example by Jesus here and in the truth of these Scriptures. We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, people around us everyday in many different areas of our lives and it says to take off all the weight that is caused by our sins, and run the race Christ has set before us. It’s not easy to just let that weight go, actually it’s involves a lot of pain. It’s not easy to be focused on others around us instead of on our selves. There is pain that comes from letting ourselves go and picking up our cross.
Then we see that we are to fix our eyes on Jesus, the “pioneer and perfecter of our faith,” Jesus our Savior and the One who gave up Himself, took the weight of our sins, and took up our cross all on Himself. That’s Jesus, the example we look to. As Jesus took His place on our cross, the one that we more than deserved to be on ourselves, He took the pain, He took it all just so that we could have life, to the fullest and complete joy of God. Jesus endured and gave up everything so we could have everything.
That’s the cross. That’s what happened on an old rugged cross years ago that has set us free and set us up as children of God. When you think about it in those personal terms that we deserved that pain, but Jesus took it so we didn’t have to. Just imagine if someone told you that you were going to be crucified, what’s your reaction? Yeah, I know, same here!!! The pain seems to be too much to bear but good thing is Jesus has already taken that pain.
As we take up our cross daily and run the race before so many witnesses, keep the cross that Jesus died on in mind. I want no part in dying on the cross but we are still called to pick up our cross daily. To let go of self and pick up our cross it takes discipline and like it mentions in the verses above, discipline is PAINFUL!!! But, only for a short time, so as we set our eyes on Jesus we see His example to endure, to continue pushing through the pain of picking up our cross out of thankfulness tif the price Jesus paid for us on the cross. Jesus has hooked us up with a pretty daggum good deal but I won’t lie, I struggle to sacrifice and being disciplined in my life. All because of the pain doesn’t sound too fun. At the end of the day as we set our eyes on Christ, we know we deserved a pain so so so much worse so we have nothing to complain or make excuses about. We just have to pick up our cross, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees!!!! We have a race to run and it’s time to embrace the pain for the sake of Christ and others getting to know the sacrifice He made for them too so they didn’t have to! The cross continues to get bigger and bigger, way bigger than us, so lay aside self today, pick up your cross, push through the pain all while setting your eyes on Jesus, the only One who could endure and the only One who can help us endure now!!