If you have been in Christian settings often, whether during a message, reading a devotional, or sometimes just in conversation, you have undoubtedly picked up on a few phrases that the culture frequently uses. One such expression and an exact quote from the Bible is “Carry your own cross.”
It has become something of a gathering cry from the pulpit exhorting the listener to “dig in deep” and reaffirm their faith daily. To “carry your own cross” denotes a truth that we must constantly be growing in our faith. While I do agree that a sign of spiritual maturity is when we display a continual pursuit for intimacy with Christ, I do believe the imagery given is one that implies that we must carry the tough things of belief … ALONE, and that could not be the furthest from the truth.
Jesus had a single primary objective that He alone must accomplish, the Cross. Yet, EVEN Jesus had to have help along the Way. Under the weight of His call, His life, and His mission, Jesus collapsed. For a moment, it appeared as if Jesus would be unable to finish the very thing He was born to do, but an unsuspecting passerby named Simon was forced to come to His aid.
Yes, we all must carry our own cross, but along that path, God gives us each a Simon to help see us through. Not only are we not condemned to carry our cross alone, but we will only sometimes be given the opportunity to choose the Simon we desire. Jesus’s human nature, without a doubt, would have hoped those He trusted most (Peter, John, James, etc.) would be the ones that came to His assistance. But a stranger from a foreign land changed fate that morning. In other words, cross-bearers can come from unexpected sources.
Indeed, every day we must bear the weight of temptation, sin, and just that thing we call life if we desire to pursue a closer relationship with God. It isn’t easy. But Jesus never asked us to do it alone nor to allow pride to isolate us. As He showed in His own quest, if you do it on your own, you will collapse under the weight.