I recently read about a man who was traveling in Brazil and happened upon a Brazilian religious festival. He perused all of the festivities surrounding the festival and came to an area with venders in their different booths. He noticed a booth that was selling religious-themed goods at low prices. The sign over that particular booth read, “Cheap crosses.”
That’s what we’re looking for sometimes, isn’t it? We look for the cheap crosses. We try to find ways to squeak into heaven, turning Christianity into a checklist religion rather than an obedient faith that responds to God’s amazing grace, mercy, and love. We try to find ways to water down the gospel so that we can justify our shortcomings and transgressions. We look for the easy way out, that path of least resistance, that will not call upon us to go outside of our comfort zones and that will not force us to go against the grain of our culture.
All the while, Jesus says this:
If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? (Luke 9:23-25).
Just as Jesus bore a cross for us, so we are called to bear a cross for Him. This is a Christian’s daily activity.
Jesus’ cross wasn’t cheap, was it? Peter says that we were bought with “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:19). That’s the blood of the “only begotten Son” of God (John 3:16). That’s no cheap cross.
Let’s wrap it up: Why would we expect our crosses to be cheap? Jesus gave His life for us, and He calls us to give our lives to Him. Why would we expect anything different? The Christian is called to fully surrender to the Lord. He surrenders his life, his will, his interests, his pleasures, his thoughts, and his speech to Jesus. “It is no longer I who live,” Paul wrote, “but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).