9. Getting There

One day as Stan and I were finishing our time together, I asked him, “You have anything for me to do to prepare for our next get-together?”

“Well, yes,” he replied.  “Spend as much time as you can praying and hearing from God as to what He has in mind for you.”

“One other thing I would like you to do is to read Matthew 16:24.  Read it as many times as necessary so you get to the point of thinking you understand what it says.”

I wrote down “Matt 16:24.” 

“See you tomorrow, Stan.”

“Lord willing,” he replied.

All the way back to my place I kept thinking about Stan and how thankful I was about being able to spend time with him.  He seemed to be so far along in his relationship with God.  I was careful not to think of him as a “mature” Christian, but as a “maturing” one!  And I wondered about how he got to where he seems to be.  I decided to see if I could get him on that subject when we meet on Thursday.

I was also thinking about Matthew 16:24.  I did not know what it said, but I was wondering about it and if I was going to be able to have any sort of intelligent answer for Stan about what I thought it meant.

The first thing I did when I got home was to take my Bible off the shelf and find Matthew 16:24.  I found it:  “If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

The first thing I noticed is that what Jesus said is optional. He used “if,” not something like “you must.”  But if I am to choose to “come after” Him, there are two requirements:  take up my cross and follow Him.  I could get a grasp on the “follow Him” part, but I was not so sure about the “take up my cross” part.  Did that mean that I had to be physically crucified?  “Wow”,   I thought, “that would hurt.”  Or did He mean something else?  What is my “cross”?  This was something I was going to have to ask Stan to see what he would say.

I then noticed that my Bible for the Matthew verse referred to a similar verse in Luke’s gospel where it said I am to take up my cross “daily.”  Obviously, this meant something that is to be an ongoing part of my life.  Every single day.  A lifestyle.  Be crucified every single day?  What did this mean?  I sure hoped Stan could help me with this!  But what was it that he had suggested that I do?  He said to pray.

So pray I did.  I got on my knees and asked God to help me with understanding His word.  What did He want me to know and to understand?  I prayed to be open to seeing, understanding, receiving, and embracing all He had for me — in eternity and on this side of eternity.  A peace overflowed me and I had the sense that taking up my cross meant that I was to deliberately choose every day to be who He intended and to do what He intended.  If that is what He wants of me, am I capable to doing and being that? 

Sure a lot to think about!  Sure a lot to plan on asking Stan about.  I was thinking about the fact I was clearly on a journey with God that this was all new to me.  I wondered where He was taking me, what it meant, and how was I going to get there.


And He said to them, “Follow Me.”  Matthew 4:19.

Prayer:  Lord, you want me to follow you, and I thank you for that.  However, you know that I am too often reluctant to follow you when I cannot see where we are going.  Please help me to overcome that reluctance and to follow you wherever you want to lead.  Amen.

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