Carrying Your Cross
by David J. Stewart
"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." —Luke 9:23
I frequently receive e-mails from professed "Christians" who are critical of my website. They are upset over the content and accuse me of NOT being Christlike. They say things like, "Jesus taught love and your website is filled with hatred" or "You'll never reach anyone for God by scaring them." Some go even as far as to tell me that I'm an embarrassment to other Christians.
Most believers do NOT understand the Bible. As a matter of fact, they are woefully ignorant of it. The Apostle Paul affirmed this:
- Romans 1:13, "Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren..."
- Romans 11:25, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant..."
- 2Corinthians 1:18, "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant
- 1st Thessalonians 4:13, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren..."
- 2 Peter 3:8, "But, beloved, be not ignorant..."
Things haven't changed much in 2,000 years. I do not say this to be unkind, but to wake you up from your spiritual nap (or coma). Most believers are sleeping spiritually...
"Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame." —1st Corinthians 15:34
Sometimes local churches are like a professional or college football game, that is, you've got 80,000 people who need exercise watching 22 guys who need a break. A few people do all the work in the church. Every believer should be involved in soul-winning, in a bus ministry, driving a bus, visitation, repairing buses, helping cut the grass, helping out when others are sick, et cetera. Get involved serving the Lord, trying to get people saved.
Jesus spoke in the Bible about taking up our cross DAILY and following Him. A "cross" is what a person is crucified upon. Why did Jesus have to carry a cross? It was because the Jews crucified Jesus! Do you know why they wanted to crucify Jesus? For the same reason they want to crucify me... for speaking the truth! Most people don't like to hear the truth; sadly, even most Christians don't want to hear the truth.
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." —John 15:18
The world hated Jesus, ultimately murdering Him. Are we greater than our Lord? No, we are not. The Bible is clear concerning this matter... Christlike believers will suffer persecution!
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." —2nd Timothy 3:12
I am saddened that so many professed Christians are ignorant of this. Our Lord clearly warned that we WOULD (not might, but would) be PERSECUTED in this world. If you are NOT suffering from some type of persecution as a Christian, then you are not doing a very good job fighting the good fight of faith.
What does it mean to take up one's cross?
*A CROSS = Problems that come because you've identified with Christ!
The Good Fight of Faith
When my enemies maliciously attack me, I rejoice, because it means that I'm doing something right for God. The more they attack, the stronger my ministry becomes through God's grace. As the old saying goes, “That which doesn't defeat you only makes you stronger.” My pastor used to put it another way, “Unshakable faith comes from having your faith shaken.” So I say to all the hordes of Hell... bring it on! I am on the Lord's side.
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." —1st Timothy 6:12
If I were going to quit, I would have done it a LONG time ago. This ministry is not about me; but rather, about getting the truth out. I make no money, and never will. I sell nothing. This is God's work. It matters not what people think about me. I only want people to know that Jesus is the redeeming Savior, Who gave His life to pay our sin debt!
Most believers won't even put the boxing gloves on to fight the Devil, they'd rather sit on the sidelines criticizing those who are FIGHTING against the Devil. I make no apologies for my direct approach to the truth. I am not going to tickle anyone's ears or scratch their back. If someone's wrong they're wrong, wear the shoe. Look, you can disagree with me all you want to, but you still have to face your Creator one day and you'd better be prepared or you're going to be very sorry! I am not cocky or arrogant, I am just very confident about the Bible I hold in my hand.
Take Up Thy Cross
All this talk nowadays about "diversity" is just another attempt by the Devil to make people "compromise" their convictions. Now, I am for diversity, but NOT the kind of diversity that says we should be quiet about the evils of homosexuality, abortion, witchcraft, etc. I will never stop preaching against evil. We need Billy Sundays all across America. Far too many Christians are buying into the "diversity" garbage being sold today by Satan. God wants us to divide over truth; not unite by error. Apostasy has set into America like rigor mortis into a dead body. Quoting the Bible has even been banned in some places as "hate speech."
The Christian life is a life to be lived, not a candle hidden under a bushel. Many Christians are SILENT, afraid to stick their neck out or make any noise for God. Why is it that the devil's crowd PROUDLY boasts of their abortions and homosexuality, but God's children hide in their pews across America? It's insanity! I was sickened when I learned that Christianity Today magazine was actually recommending the hell-spawned Harry Potter series. Can you imagine? If we are going to live for Jesus, then we will be crucified by this heathen world. I have been crucified plenty of times. It is emotionally painful when you have to go to work every day and face a hostile work environment. I cherish such verses as Matthew 5:11-12...
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." —Matthew 5:11-12
In my many years of secular workplace experience: I've had hammers thrown at me, been spit upon, been thrown up against the wall, been grabbed by the throat, had my radio thrown and broken, been physically threatened, told to find another job, been fired, had the buttons ripped off my shirt, shocked from a charged capacitor placed on my toolbox, dirty centerfolds placed in my locker, cigar butts placed on my toolbox, hard liquor placed inside my toolbox, keys broken off in my toolbox, machines sabotaged, vehicles sabotaged, lied about, slandered, labeled, stigmatized, called a hypocrite, hated without cause, been ostracized, ridiculed, rejected, despised, abused, mistreated, humiliated, embarrassed, degraded, accused of the most horrible things, told to shut up, cigarette smoke blown in my face, pry bars lifted between my legs, had my tool box thrown on the floor, told I was a lousy father, called a lousy husband, called a lousy son, accused of not loving my family, called immature, called every name imaginable, called "baby Jesus," told not to bring my Bible back to work, told by my boss "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen" when I complained about the abuse, laughed at, mocked, made the object of group criticism, narrowed out publicly in humiliation, had things stolen from me, been discredited, ignored, lied about, overlooked, persecuted... all because I was living for Jesus Christ.
They hated my Christian music. They hated my Bible at work. They hated the Bible verses on my tool box. They hated hearing me talk about the Bible and God. They hated my smile and the gleam in my eye. They hated me without cause. They really hated Jesus and I was a reminder of Jesus. And, as you can imagine, I am immensely hated for my online ministry. I have many enemies, but I pray for them, that God will open their heart to join me in my soulwinning efforts.
I know what it's like to work with people who haven't spoken to me in over five years. If looks could kill, I would have been dead. They wanted a reason to hate me and they looked for any reason to do it. I have learned over the years that the heathen have a tendency to accuse Christians of thinking they're BETTER than everyone else. In reality, we are only DIFFERENT, not better. Nevertheless, a Christian will often be labeled as such. I have also had many positive experiences in the work place (like going home), but there have been those moments when "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" made his move (Ephesians 2:2). Most Christians have never made anyone upset because they are living just like the devilish world.
Are you carrying your cross for Jesus? Are you living a Christlike life? Do people see Jesus in you? If everyone likes you, something is VERY wrong...
"Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets." —Luke 6:26
Yes, I get quite a bit of hate mail hear at Jesus-is-Savior.com, but that's just a big encouragement to me that I must be doing something right for Jesus. I never thought I'd receive so much criticism from professed Christians when I started this site, but I do. It has opened my eyes to realize just how carnal most believers are, certainly they are NOT "Christlike" in their testimony. Jesus spoke of carrying a cross. The Apostle Paul tells us to "fight" the good fight of faith. We are to "contend" for the faith (Jude 1:3). The Christian life is not a field trip through flowery gardens, it is a FIGHT, an all out war (1st Peter 2:11). You can't lay with dogs and not get fleas. Sin is the best detective, it always gets its man. You can't sow your wild oats and pray for crop failure!
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." —2nd Timothy 2:4
America is going to hell, God needs Christian soldiers who will stand up for Jesus. We are in a spiritual war. Sadly, most Christians do not know what I am talking about because they are woefully ignorant of the Bible and what is going on in the real world. I know this based upon all the e-mails I receive from Christians attacking me for exposing false religions, lies of the devil, and wickedness in our country and government. Instead of criticizing me, they should be helping to fight the devil. They are part of the problem. We MUST UNCOMPROMISINGLY withstand in these evil days and stand for God 'til the end.
"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." —Ephesians 6:13
If My People