Okay, imagine for a second that when Jesus said that, He actually meant it. A serious call to discipleship from a serious Lord. The path He has for us to walk as His people carries no promise of ease. It does have a promise of His peace and an unimaginably greater joy. One of my biggest concerns as a Christian pastor is whether we as Christ-followers will be able to bear His cross in the years ahead. I fear many of us may not be able to bear being disliked by our neighbours, or bear the shame of being a Christian. His Cross held shame; can ours be any different? One of my greatest concerns as a Christian is whether I myself will be able to walk that path.
So, I propose a spiritual exercise:
Fourth, pray and ask God what is He saying? What is He calling you to? How will it affect your life, your worship, your prayers, your personal evangelism?
A Prayer: God, You Yourself have appointed us to live in these times. You do not make mistakes. Help us to serve this world and our neighbours with great compassion. Help us also to seek peace for this world. Give us courage to be cross-bearing disciples no matter the cost. Please count us worthy to bear shame for your sake. Most of all, keep us faithful. AMEN.