A long time ago, while complaining about a problem, a friend gave me the following mental image: “If everyone we know were to gather around in a big circle and put their worries in the middle for all to see, do you know what would happen? Everyone would go back and pick up their own set of worries.” At the time I thought that this was a simplistic rationale for encouraging me not to compare. I now know that this is true. Yes, I have struggles; we all do. And no, I do not want to trade burdens with you. Luke 9:23 reminds us how to live our life with our burdens. “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Deny yourself – I am not talking about skipping a cup of coffee; we are civilized beings after all. For me, this phrase means that I am not to be the victim. No “woe is me.” Whatever comes, I must strive to overcome. That is not to say that there are not tears, prayerful pleads, and moments when I ask why. In the end, it is not about me. It is about our Lord.
Take up your cross – While this statement may also apply to the mantel of the Christian life, it can also be applied to a burden. Every day we must pick up our burden and keep going. In my family, we have a saying that helps us keep focused and grounded. When others wonder about our burdens, I reply with a smile, “This is just our brand of Crazy!” Some days are harder than others. But each day is a gift, and I must be grateful.
Follow Jesus – Can we be perfect like the Master? No, but we can follow Him. Spending time in the Word and praying each day is following Him. Trying to be Christ-like is following Him. Putting one foot in front of the other, even when you feel like quitting, is following Him. I often think back to the book In His Steps, and ask myself, “What would Jesus do?” With the Hold Spirit’s guidance, this is often not a difficult question to answer. Sometimes I succeed in following, and other times I fail. The best part is that every day I must begin again in my quest to follow.
I have heard the saying, “Comparison is the devil’s tool to keep us from doing what we are supposed to be doing.” I believe this is a powerful truth. For once we begin to compare, we are looking around us and not toward the Savior. May I encourage you and remind myself to go back to that proverbial pile and pick up your burden? We don’t want anyone else’s.
Deny, Take Up, and Follow Him.
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Mrs. Chung grew up around the work of the ministry and now has the privilege of teaching at the North Valley Baptist Schools. She and her husband faithfully teach young people and are a vital asset to the ministry of NVBC.