When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” —Mark 8:34-38 NKJV

On October 26, 1859, the steam clipper Royal Charter, having left Melbourne heading for Liverpool, sailed into the worst storm to hit the Irish Sea in that century. In the tumultuous winds and deadly waves, the ship was tossed so violently onto the rocks that it broke in two a mere 50 yards from shore. Passengers found themselves tossed into the water. A number of them were able to swim to shore, but others, gold miners who had struck it rich in Australia, lost their lives due to the weight of the gold belts they were wearing. Had they left their “fortunes” behind, they most likely would have survived.

In stark contrast, in 1952, Jim Eliot laid aside a very promising and lucrative career in order to bring the hope of Christ to the notoriously violent Ecuadorian tribe known as the Huaorani. After roughly four years of laying the foundation for sharing the gospel, Jim and four other missionaries were finally able to make their first physical contact with the tribe on January 3, 1956. On January 8 at 12:30 p.m., Jim radioed in his scheduled report to his wife. After that, the radio went silent. The five men perished at the hands of those they were seeking to reach. Words previously penned in Jim’s personal journal, on October 28, 1949, became immortal:

“Take up his cross … ” This phrase is often taken out of context and used to mean that we all have something to suffer with in life. “We all have our cross to bear.”

The disciples and followers of Jesus knew exactly what He meant. Always fresh, always vivid in their minds were the Roman crosses lining the roadside with the bloating, decaying, often unidentifiable, scavenger-ravaged bodies that hung for hours or days and sometimes even weeks, as a deterrent to rebellion. Those who suffered on the crosses were first stripped, beaten, and then forced to carry their own crossbeam to the site of their execution. At the time Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, He was imminently facing carrying His own cross.

It is an apt picture of what it means to follow Him. We are to lay ourselves down and pick up and carry our cross, which is His cross, His gospel, the life of Christ in us. The Apostle Paul said: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 NKJV).

Taking up my cross …

  • Means that I must humble myself and lay down on the ground, spiritually speaking, remembering that it’s not about me. It’s all about Him.
  • Means stretching out my arms and fastening my hands tightly to the crossbeam of His will rather than the world, sin, and self-will.
  • Means tossing my own heavy burdens that I was never meant to carry down on Him and picking up His light burden and carrying Him everywhere I go.
  • Means walking where I won’t necessarily want to go in order to go where He wants me to be. Even when it costs me—especially when it costs me.

This describes “having my cross to bear.”

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37 NKJV). With this verse, Jesus put a “crossroad” in front of His listeners: Life? Or death? Which would they choose?

We’re faced with that same crossroad every day. We face it first when we are brought to the cross for salvation. We face it every moment of every day, with our every breath, in living out our Christian faith. Self? … or … Christ?

The story of God’s work through Jim Eliot didn’t end with his death. His wife, along with the sister of one of the other missionaries who died with him, later returned to that very same tribe to continue the work of bringing them the Gospel. As a result, many in that tribe, including some of those directly responsible for the five men’s deaths came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. As a result, roughly 20 percent of the tribe are now committed Christians faithfully serving God.

Lord, help me to choose You at every intersection of my day. Help me to pick up the phone when I really don’t feel like talking to anyone at the moment. Help me get into the car when I’d really rather stay home. Help me listen to that difficult or tiring person because they need to experience a portrait of You. Help me minister, when it’s inconvenient. Help me not to cop an attitude, but serve You and others joyfully. Help me pick up my cross and follow You. Let me be able to truly say, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless not I but Christ.”

I love You, Lord!

Safe in His care,
Donna Perkins




Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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Click over to our Donation page … and thanks.





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