A few questions we often ask ourselves is,
“Why is my life so hard?”
“Why did this happen?”
“When will I be happy?”
And many more similar questions…
In all of these we seem to be calling out to God to explain the answers.
“God, what gives?”
And this is exactly why life is so hard.
In Matthew 16: 24 Christ tells us,
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
A major problem with Christian living today, is the “deny themselves” part. People seem to think that denying themselves means donating a little extra on Sunday, or doing some service work, or maybe holding the door open for a stranger.
Christ did not call us to a life of nice deeds, but a life of radical love.
Christ is calling us to action here. Action that must happen every second of our short lives.
How many times a day do you look inward instead of outward?
How many times a day do you dissect and analyze your cross instead of looking towards His cross?
How many times in a day do you use excuses to prevent you from loving those around you?
I for one, do this everyday. The modern term for not denying oneself would be
“getting in your own head.”
Got a test coming up? Analyze yourself, make up a million scenarios about messing up, procrastinate, refocus, think about not being what you want to be in life…etc.
Got in an argument with a friend? Analyze yourself, make up a million scenarios why you were right and they were wrong, shy away from forgiveness….etc.
Got bills to pay? Analyze yourself, ask where you messed up in your budget, make up a million scenarios as to how you are gonna get this fixed..etc.
See, the problem is not the situations, but our outlook on the situations.
We are a culture so obsessed with turning our eyes inside ourselves. We have the constant false belief that by looking in we can fix the situation.
We need to develop the habit of forcing ourselves to look up at Christ on the cross.
By focusing outward, we are denying ourselves. We are establishing that in this moment we have a cross to bear, BUT we are walking with Christ. We will follow Him and carry our cross with dignity and courage.
The hardest thing in life is to suffer alone.
This is why life is so hard. We are constantly choosing EVERY SINGLE DAY to suffer alone. God is shouting at us to look towards Him and to never ever ever be alone in our suffering, yet we choose to stare at our problems instead of the Creator.
Friends, in order to make life not so hard we need to remember Christ is right here at all times.
As St. Patrick once said,
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Today, I encourage you to refocus your gaze on Jesus.
Unite your suffering with His suffering.
Deny yourself, forget you even exist.
And become a solider for God, so strong, so confident, so radical…
All the fears on the battlefield transform into another opportunity to be victorious
They become another opportunity to give glory to God.