Then [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
Losing Your Life
On July 17, 180 A.D., twelve inhabitants of Carthage, North Africa, were executed for being Christians. There were seven men and five women. Their names were Speratus, Nartzalus, Cintinus (Cittinus), Veturius, Felix, Aquilinus, Laetantius, Januaria, Generosa, Vestia, Donata, and Secunda. Speratus was their spokesman. He claimed for himself and his companions that they had lived quiet and moral lives—paying their taxes and doing no wrong to their neighbors. But when called upon to swear by the name of the emperor, he replied, “We do not recognize the empire of this world. We serve the God whom no one has seen.” The Christians were offered a delay of thirty days to reconsider their decision, which they all refused. They were put to death by the sword.
They were not the first Christian martyrs, nor the last. Even today, there are people around the world killed for following Jesus.
Many Christians are not killed for their faith. But you will find that there are always sacrifices to be made in following Jesus. You will encounter skepticism and ridicule for putting the needs of other people ahead of your own. You will have less money and time for yourself when you use them for other people. You may lose status or the opportunity for advancement when you live a quiet and moral life.
But trusting in Jesus for your eternal salvation and living a God-pleasing life for others to say thank you to him are worthwhile. When Jesus suffered hell on the cross for your salvation, he made your much smaller sufferings bearable. You can look forward to eternal life with him!
Lord Jesus, give me strength to take up my cross daily and follow you. Amen.
Powered by WPeMatico