Deny Yourself & Pick Up Your Cross

10 11 2010

When I hear the words, pick up your cross, the first thing that comes to mind is Jesus.  I think of the large cross He carried up the hill on Calvary, bloody and bruised just for us!  However this statement of denying yourself and picking up your cross actually took place way before that for Jesus.  You see Jesus came to a place where he was tired and worn out and just didn’t want to go through with it.  He went to the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” – Luke 22: 42

I love this bible verse because it lets me know that Jesus got to a place, just like we all do, when we just can’t do it and want to quit.  It could be for all kinds of reasons – we are tired, afraid, worried, it’s taking to long to happen etc…  This is where we must learn to master self control.  You see when you know that where you are and what you are doing is what is best for your purpose or your goal, then it does not matter how you feel!  Well at least it shouldn’t because sometimes we must do what we don’t feel like doing!!!!   What matters is that you don’t give up.  This is when we must call on that good ole discipline to exert self control so that we won’t give up but instead stay on course.  That is why Jesus says not my will but yours be done.  In other words, even though I don’t feel like it, if you want me to do it Lord, I will do it. 

Think about it, at 9 years old, do you think Beyonce wanted to spend her summers in a performers boot camp dancing and singing all day every day? Sure it was in her backyard and it was with her friends but think of how tiring it must have been.  No she wasn’t riding her bike or playing with her barbie’s, she was working hard!!!   Why?  Because she kept her eyes on the prize and knew that if she wanted to get to her goal, she must not give up and quit, they must stay the course! That course was Destiny’s Child and now look at her go!   Or how about Michael Jordan.  As a sophomore in high school his coach cut him from the team but Michael did not let that stop him.  He practiced, and practiced and practiced and by junior year he was ready and was put back on the team and the rest is history!  That history will go down in the NBA Hall of Fame.  Here’s another one, Madame CJ Walker who we all have to thank because without her who knows how our hair would look…LOL.  She started her empire with just $2.00, do you think she could see where she was to go?  Can you imagine how challenging it was for a black woman in the early 1900’s to do all that she did?  Yet she became one of our first self-made female American millionaires.  Even Martin Luther King Jr., he had just become a minister, just got married, just got assigned to pastor his first church and he had just moved to get started with that church.  Do you think he knew that at 24 years old he would be the leader of the Civil Rights Movement?   I could go on but the point I am trying to make is in the face of adversity, we all must learn to stay on the course we have been given.  We must learn how to deny ourselves and instead exert self control and disciple in order to stay focused!  We must find that assurance within that if we endure we can and will make it to become the woman we were purposed to be.  I know you all have heard me tell the story before but 17 years ago when I started Imani Phi Christ (Imani Corporation’s program for African American teenage girls), I called all of my girlfriends to help me. Some did help but others laughed at me and talked about me behind my back.   They were saying things like, who did I think I was, she does not know what she is doing,…I can go on and they were actually right, I ddi not know what I was doing…LOL but God did and He lit my path then and now as that small program is now in 9 states!  But for me those friend comments hit me in the heart like a knife.  It hurt but I knew I could not let that deter me because I also knew then, like I do now that this was the path God had for me!  Therefore despite the haters and folks that did and still do talk about me.   I have endured as I know that this is my cross to bear.  So what is yours?  What is your purpose?  What is your gift?  What is the one thing you know you should do but that you don’t do?

 “Then he (Jesus) said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” – Luke 9: 23- 25

You see Jesus knew his mission and remained faithful all the way until the end.  In so doing He became a shining example for us of believing in the gift that God made you to be and to DO IT GIRL!!!!!  That’s what I call defining your own way (a little book PR…LOL)  but seriously, our lives are ours to make and at times it does take perseverance, sacrifice, self control and discipline.  When we can deny our crosses that come along the way, we can stay focused as we work toward becoming the woman we were designed to be. 

“It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” – Galatians 2:20

So what’s holding you back from being you?  It’s time that we each deny ourselves, pick up our cross and let our lights shine so that all will see the good and perfect will of God that lives inside of each of us!

 “The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.”  ~Henry Ward Beecher

 “When the world says, ‘Give up,’Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’” ~Author Unknown

 “Nobody trips over mountains.  It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble.  Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.”  ~Author Unknown

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”  ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

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