Monday, September 16, 2013

Taking Up of the Cross in Marriage (& Everyday Life!)

When a bride walks down the aisle to join with her groom, the last word on her mind is duty. Duty? She's thinking, "I love this man!"

As I attended a dear friend's daughter's wedding last month, the word "duty" came easily to my mind as the bride was marrying a navy pilot. His life is one filled with duty! He had to report immediately for survival training as soon as they returned from their honeymoon.

What a great name for training: survival training. He would be left for two weeks in a remote location to survive in preparation for work he could later be called upon to do.

I thought about our callings as wives and the taking up of the cross.

"To take up the cross of Christ is no great action done once for all; it consists in the continual practice of small duties which are distasteful to us." -J. H. Newman

What "small duty" do you have that you would just as soon skip because it is not your thing? It's not your cup of tea?

Perhaps your husband loves sports and you don't care a thing about sports. Can you sit with him as he watches the game? Can you make that an offering to Christ?

I love how Newman defines the taking up of the cross as the "continual practice of small duties which are distasteful to us." They cut across our preferences, don't they? That's where we can take up our cross. That's where the rubber meets the road. 

Whenever something cuts against our will—we have an opportunity to die to ourselves.  

We cannot take up our cross in some huge heroic effort and consider it "done" either. We need to take up the cross of Christ daily, as we die to ourselvesdie to our own way.

I think it's easy to think that when the Bible speaks of the "taking up of the cross," that means some huge thing done for Christ—like a decision to move to the opposite side of the country or to work in a hospital in Africa. And for some, this certainly may be a taking up of the cross. 

But for most of us, I think it's easy to miss the chance to take up the cross in everyday matters.  If our faith cannot meet us right where we live, what use is it? 

So, how does the "taking up of the cross" work itself out practically in our lives?

I think for women, we can die to ourselves when we bite our tongues instead of going on and on (talking to myself here!).  Our tongues can get us in a lot of trouble. Can I get an "Amen" on that one? "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." (Proverbs 10:19)

If my husband turns left, and I think we need to turn right—wouldn't it be better to just be quiet and see the way my husband is choosing to go? Dying to self is a very practical thing, isn't it?

Newman defined it above as taking up duties that are distasteful to us. Literally speaking, isn't that like swallowing a bite of food we don't like? No one wants to taste food that we don't like, but the point is we can swallow it—with the right attitude.

What if everyone wants to go out for Chinese, and you want Mexican? Why not keep your ( mouth shut literally and be easy to live with? (I'm talking to myself here, who would quite naturally want to recount to everyone the number of times we had recently had Chinese and justify why we should get Mexican!)

We need to purchase a car soon. A young driver hit my car when my daughter was driving last week, and thankfully no one got a scratch on them, but my car is totaled. My husband knows a lot about cars. I don't know a thing about cars. He's been searching Internet to identify what kind of car we are going to get.

I need my answer to be, "sure," when he finishes his search and decides what car is the best one for us. Is it really that easy? Of course not! 

I don't want a red car. I think they stick out too much. I just want to get where I'm going and not be noticed. You know what the Lord keeps telling me? Just be quiet about the car, and let your husband pick a car for your family. I need to die to self on this car thing. If we end up getting a red car, I'm going to get a lot of opportunities to die to self as I'm riding a red car down the road!!!  

I'm sorry if I just burst your bubble and you thought I was some super spiritual person, because I am not. I don't like red cars for me. I need God's help every hour. I need to just be thankful for it and drive the thing. If I'm going to follow Christ, I need to die to self. Enough about the car. 

I love the following short story, and it's attributed to a source named "Life of James Hinton." 

"On one occasion an intimate friend of his was fretting somewhat at not being able to put a cross on the grave of a relation, because the rest of the family disliked it. 'Don't you see,' he said to her, 'that by giving up your own way, you will be virtually putting a cross on the grave? You'll have it in its effect. The one is but a stone cross, the other is a true spiritual cross.' "

Think of all the spiritual crosses we could offer back to God as we give up our own way! We could offer a mere glance upward to God as we deny our way for His. What a beautiful spiritual cross!

I remember that dear old saint, Corrie Ten Boom, who traveled over 60 countries as a "tramp for the Lord," telling of his saving grace in the concentration camps during World War II. As the Lord began calling her to give her testimony after the war, she in effect said, "Lord, I just hope you don't call me to Germany. I'll go anywhere but Germany." Germany had been the cause of so much pain including the death of her sister in a concentration camp there.

Yet, as God worked in her heart, she began to change her prayer to, "Lord, I'll go anywhere You want me to go to tell your story."

That's a heart ready to take up the cross!

Her calling did eventually lead her right into Germany with the message of Christ's love and forgiveness to a people desperately in need of the Gospel message.

Hearing her story inspires me, and almost makes me feel foolish for the non-issue things I take time to even lose thoughts over! Lord, I want to drive any car you want me to, and to be thankful for it for transportation! Thank you for the money to buy a car. 

If I end up with a red car, I could offer it up everyday as an outward sign of an inward spiritual reality! After all, it would be red like the blood Jesus shed for me!

Can we learn to say my life for yours—modeled so beautifully by our Lord who said, "not my will, but Thine be done." (Luke 22:42)

Now it's your turn. How can you give up your right to your preference in your marriage or in everyday life?

"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, 
and take up his cross daily, and follow me. " -Luke 9:23

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Walk by Faith,


  1. Update! Update! 24 hours after writing this post we bought a beautiful, used, white, ☺ SUV with low mileage!!!

  2. Juana - so glad you are enjoying your lovely new wheels! I am also so glad the word "daily" is included in Luke 9:23. In a marriage, sometimes it is really more like "hourly" depending on the situation. I do find myself biting my tongue, but like you, have learned that that act is no good, unless I can really do so with a submissive heart. I believe God chose this relationship for me and will continue to teach me about His love for us through it. It is difficult and many times I fail. Lamentations 3:22 is a favorite of mine - from the ESV "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; the mercies never come to an end" He is patient and merciful - I must practice this as well. I loved reading your post!

    1. Kelly, I somehow missed this when you posted it!!! Forgive me. You are such an encouragement to me, Kelly. I love your humble attitude. God doesn't expect anything from us except failure, does He ? There was only One who was perfect. So happy the Lord sees us through Christ's perfect righteousness covering us. loved hearing from you:-)


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