Stone Soup for Five: What is a cross bearing life?

What is a cross bearing life?

While journaling through Matthew I noticed over and over again themes of taking up my cross,  denying myself, and counting the cost.  These three topics kept showing up as I read through Matthew, so I summed them up under the title of cross-bearing life.

What is a cross-bearing life? 

Cross-bearing is living a life of dying to my wants and desires, knowing what that is going to cost me, and following Christ. (Matthew 8:22, 10:38 and 16:24 with many variations all over Matthew.)

How do I live a cross-bearing life?

Jesus wants me to follow Him.  To do that, I need to be better at knowing what is non-essential and knowing what my pet distractions are so I can avoid, ignore, and work against them.  I also need to know what it means to follow Him.  And I need to count the cost of following Him.  As I was working through my journal, I added notes of what it looks like to carry my cross and what it means specifically in my life.

Cross bearing will cost me: 

  • my comfort (He usually ALWAYS works outside my comfort zone)
  • my entertainment (or at least it should change what I'm entertained by)
  • my desires (things that I want may never be mine)
  • it will mean walking with Him through death and grief
  • it will mean self-denial.  Everyday.  Forever.
  • it will mean self-sacrifice and death to self
  • it will mean a daily battle against sin--for as long as I live
  • it will mean persistence in prayer (even when I don't see results)
  • I will need to remember to abide in His love
  • I must continue to work to cultivate hope 
The Roman cross was a one-way trip.  No one survived it.  Carrying my cross isn't trying to limit some bad habits or sin.  It isn't grudgingly thinking that a problem is just a cross I have to bear. Cross-bearing is a continual dying to myself.  It's a one way trip ending in death to self.

Cross bearing will give me:
  • growing faith and trust in God
  • a life marked by obedience (I SO want to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant!)
  • right desires (focus on building up God's kingdom, not my own)
  • peace, and rest, and hope
  • a life that can be used by God because it's not focused on pleasing self
  • protection from a lifestyle marked by willful sin
  • joy that isn't based on circumstance or situation
  • fellowship with my Creator
  • a life rightly focused on Him so I can point myself and others to Him and His faithfulness and great love
  • blessing, comfort, and joy from and in Someone who can never fail me or be taken from me

"Cross bearing does not refer to some irritation in life.  
Rather it involves the way of the cross."  -Walter Wessel
"The gospel is well worth whatever we have to give for it."  Matthew Henry

What do you think?
What does cross bearing mean to you?

All the work above was done in the I Will Meditate Journal, which can be found on Amazon here.

Other posts you might like:

How to study narrative chapters

I Will Meditate Volume One

Prayer School Confessing sin

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  1. I was especially struck by some verses in Psalm 78 this morning that I think go along with taking up my cross.

    vs. 18 "and in their heart they put God to the test by asking food according to their desire."
    vs. 24 "He rained down manna upon them to eat and gave them food from heaven."
    vs. 29 "So they ate and were well filled, and their desire He gave to them.
    vs. 30 "before they had satisfied their desire, while their food was in their mouths,
    vs. 31 The anger of God rose against them and killed some of their stoutest ones, and subdued
    the choice men of Israel."
    vs. 37 "For their heart was not steadfast toward Him, nor were they faithful toward His covenant."

    I read this this morning and also 2 Cor. 12 where Paul talks about His thorn in the flesh. I am increasingly seeing that taking my cross is walking in trust in Him, even to the point of receiving as my "daily bread" that which I would not desire. Whatever He chooses to place in my day on any particular given day. Am I going to choose my way or His.

    There is about 10 times in the Exodus/wilderness story where the Israelites said something to the effect of "Has He brought us out here to kill us?" They, and we, need to learn to trust Him when it looks like even the depth of my being is going to die. Am I going to trust Him in the midst of it all?

    Jennifer White

    1. "even when it looks like the depth of my being is going to die..." I love that quote. Yes! So good!

  2. It's really fun to see your copy of I Will Meditate in use. I'm interested to know more about the pages you are bookmarking? Are they the readings that were particularly meaningful, or the review/memory pages?

    I started my book quite late because I was finishing another study, and have had a few interruptions, so I am ch.8 - I am really loving it though! So excited to have this resource. Thank you Kari

    1. You're never late and never behind! :) I put some tabs at the top to make it quick to turn to the Review and Reflect pages, and I put a couple tabs on the side for major topics, like prayer and repentance.

  3. It is interesting and o so joyous to see how God reveals himself to us when He knows the timing is appropriate for us.
    I went through these same questions a few months back and the one thing He revealed to me above all others is that if I really want to do
    His Will, I shall surrender my “flesh” and all it’s wants and HE WILL TRANSFORM MY HEART. He will align my heart to His heart so I will desire the things that He desires for me and not the things of this world.
    When I try to do it on my own I fail miserably.
    So, have a heart of surrender and age will do
    Miracles in your life

    1. So true! When I try to do it on my own I fail miserably. Yes, so very, painfully true.

  4. Kari, you've done it again, you've brought yet another soul searching topic at a timely moment. I'm in tears, both with grief and joy, grief because i'm going through a valley of death to self, but joy because i have sisters like you in the world enduring the same kind of walk, and no longer feeling alone.......God thank you for this blog. I love your honesty and your love for the Lord.

    1. Oh, yes, the Valley of Death to Self. I'm right there beside you sister.

  5. This makes me think that Jesus didn't come to die instead of us, he came to die for us as an example of what we must do - death to self. 1 Peter 2:21 KJV — For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.

  6. I especially like the section of what cross bearing will give you. It's true that our culture talks about something difficult as "being our cross to bear". Studying Romans has been a great attitude adjustment for me. All about not conforming to the world. This goes along with that. I love it when God puts His finger on something you didn't realize you were doing. And I liked the quotes you added at the bottom of the blog.

  7. It's me again. (I replied on 3/7/18.) After thinking on the cross-bearing life, I hoped God would bring the topic around in my studies. He didn't take any time at all. My Bible study lesson hit on that very topic last week. I love when He choreographs my studies! I just had to tell you.


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