No Cross No Crown

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself” Matthew 16:24

The cross is to be taken up, not simply borne when laid upon the shoulder. This implies willing, cheerful suffering for Christ. Some people endure trials, but always with repining. The spirit of these words requires cheerfulness in suffering for Christ. Half the trial is gone if we meet it in this glad spirit.

Notice again, it is his cross and not some other man’s that each one is to take up. It is the particular cross that God lays at our own feet that we are to bear. We are never to make crosses for ourselves, but we are always to accept those which are allotted to us. Each one’s own cross is the best for him. Sometimes we think our lot is peculiarly hard, and we compare it with the lot of this or that other person, and wish we had his cross instead of our own. But we do not know what other people’s crosses really are. If we did we might not want to exchange. The cross that seems woven of flowers, if we put it on our shoulders we might find filled with sharp thorns under the flowers. The cross of gold that seems so bright we should find so heavy that it would crush us. The easiest cross for each one to bear is his own.

There is a way to get the crosses out of our life altogether. A father explained it thus to his child. Taking two pieces of wood, one longer than the other, he said: “Let the longer piece represent God’s will, and the shorter your will. If I lay the two pieces side by side, parallel to each other, there is no cross; it is only when I lay the shorter piece across the longer that I can make a cross. So there can be a cross in my life only when my will falls athwart God’s, when I cannot say, ‘Thy will be done.’ If my will sweetly acquiesces in His, there is no cross.” The way to take out the crosses is therefore always gladly to accept, through love to Him, whatever trial, pain, or loss God sends.