Recently I read a remarkable story of a modern woman who lived in a village. She had drifted far from Christ, came back to him and renounced all her involvement in shady things, including the reading of tarot cards, and in Christian love she befriended a gang of youths in her village.They were a bored, aggressive, violent gang.The village’s No.1 enemies, always in trouble with the police.She got to know them, and after a long process of listening to them, of teaching the Bible, she led them one by one to Christ.The vicar baptised them in the local swimming pool, and as their old selves were buried in believer’s baptism, and came up to live their life in Christ who had embraced them, and become their master and friend.
Most Christians I know would shout ‘Do that in our town Lord!’, and long for such a series of miraculous responses to the gospel,but we would be ignoring the price which that woman paid.She took up the cross when she befriended the gang.Her husband was not happy about his space being invaded by those raucous lads.Her children forfeited their cosy and private home, and their rights to their mum’s exclusive attention.The garden was trampled down. Their caravan was set on fire.She even led them in scrubbing their own graffiti off the church walls!
These were damaged lads, who needed loving, accepting and leading, and she took it on for Jesus’ sake, resisting the vandalism, crime, drug dealing and witchcraft in which they had all lived.She was Christ’s agent, rescuing them,but she had to take up his cross to win them.
Self denial is a lot more than giving up chocolate for Lent – you know.
“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples, and said “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8: 34-35
Lord, deliver your servants from seeking fruits for which there has been no labour, and help us change our Christian cushions for crosses.
Now read II Corinthians Ch. 6