THE NAILS AND THE THORNS
Matthew 16:24 “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”
During this Lenten season let us reflect upon Jesus’ call to deny self and take up our cross and follow Him.
Self-denial is a cross. It lurks behind the shadowy cobwebs of our consciousness like a phantom shaman shaking its nail-and-thorn studded rattle at our measly attempts to curb its monstrous appetite for self-satisfaction. We try to avoid these nails and thorns at all costs because they hurt…they sting…they smart.
Where do we stand in regards to these nails and thorns?
- When confronted with disparaging situations among our brethren, do we stifle our desire to cause strife?
- When enticed to become involved with distasteful things, do we choose to obey Christ and live godly lives?
- When we become totally wrapped up with work and family, do we submit to that still small voice that bids us find time to help the widows, visit the shut-ins, and give to the poor?
- When facing false accusations and deeds from evil doers, do we face them with our Lord’s directive to turn the other cheek?
These are but some of the moments when “nails and thorns” rear their ugly heads in our consciousness. These are the causes of the “blood trickling down our brows and spurting from our heads and feet”. Nails and thorns have a way of doing that.
If and when we answer Christ’s call to deny ourselves and take up our cross, some of these nails and thorns will surely cause us to stumble and fall. That is inevitable. We cannot be made perfect while in these fragile, selfish bodies. But Christ is there to lift us up and send us on our way again. He already walked this road. Remember?
“And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20