A Reflection by Gary Jansen

Ugh. I’d much prefer to skip over the passages in the Bible that talk about us taking up our cross and following Jesus. I don’t want to suffer like he did. I don’t want to be a martyr. Heck, I don’t even want a headache. First sign of pressure at my temples and I’m popping ibuprofen like candy.

But this is what Jesus says: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

If Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life then what he says is the way, the truth, and the life. So why do I resist this so much? Why can’t I do what Jesus asks? What am I afraid of?

I really do not want to probe deep into my psyche or open my heart to see where I’m broken in order to answer these questions. Can’t Jesus just make it easy on me?

If Jesus wants me to deny myself, pick up my cross, and follow him then I must pray for a triple dose of grace. Make that an infinite dose of grace because I know that God knows that I’m pretty weak.

Thankfully, Jesus you also said, “Ask, Seek, Knock.” Well, I’m asking for that grace. I’ll start there. The seeking and knocking, I’ll get to that later, but right now, I’m just asking.

I’m just asking.

 Gary Jansen

Gary Jansen

Gary Jansen is senior editor of religion and spirituality at the Crown Publishing Group at Penguin Random House.

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