...let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. -Matthew 16:24b
There is a god, a false god, that every human being worships. It is not made of stone or wood or precious metal.
This is the god that causes us to seek first our own desires, to mutilate our bodies and to kill our children. This god stares back at us from our mirrors.
It is easily the most familiar face we know. And we love it. It might be said that self-love is the most widespread religion on the planet. Even self-loathing is but the unhealthy reverse of the same coin; a morbid focus upon our idol.
Here is my cross. To put to death daily this false god. Paul warned us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. To shift our focus. When my desires are God's desires, they will no longer be evil desires.
But the idol does not die easily. My cross is to put to death the old man and he does not want to go.
But Jesus said, "My yoke is easy...." What is this easy?
Gratitude. Though I bear my cross and sometimes the idol dies hard, I am grateful for deliverance purchased by my Savior's blood. Isaac Watts knew that to survey the "Wondrous Cross" is to be so overwhelmed by the magnitude of God's grace that our desire becomes Christ and His kingdom.
And the yoke becomes easy and the burden light.
When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer