Why do we use the instruction to, “take up your cross,” as an excuse for living a burdened or less-than-abundant life?
I don’t find anywhere in scripture where Jesus instructs us to take up His cross. I agree, the cross He bore was burdensome, shameful, heavy, dark, sinful, and condemning, but, because of that, our’s is not.
Jesus said, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30.
I think sometimes walking in liberty (for us) is more burdensome, so we try to carry the cross Jesus carried for us. When all you have known is bondage, the unfamiliarity of freedom can feel burdensome.
I remember studying in one of my political science classes the distinction between “freedom from” and “freedom to.” I think we as Christians frequently only get as far as “freedom from” this or that. However, the freedom Christ paid for by carrying our cross is beyond “freedom from” it is “freedom to” be what God has called us to be.
God freed the Israelites from Egypt’s bondage and freed them to take their promised land. But, a good chunk of the Bible is about Israel’s inability to walk in the “freedom to.” And they had a pretty hard time walking in “freedom from” also. How often did they want to go back to Egypt rather than continue on in the wilderness?
It’s an altogether human thing to try to make our freedom more burdensome than our bondage. Is this our cross?