Sometimes I wish things weren’t so black and white. Take the title of this blog for instance. Will you choose the cross or comfort? Surely there’s an option ‘C’, right? We want the cross but we’d really rather have our share of comfort in this world as well. After all, what good is God if He can’t cut us a break every now and then? Of course we’d never say something like that out loud, but most of us aren’t shy about living as if that’s how we feel. But the way I read the Bible, there is no option ‘C’.
There is no gray area in which we can revel. Jesus was pretty clear in His statements. We must choose the cross or comfort. We can’t have it both ways, and living in the middle is the same as rejecting Him (Revelation 3:16).
One thing I know about crucifixion is it’s not comfortable. Jesus told us to take up our cross daily and follow Him. He took comfort out of the equation. It’s difficult to be happy when you are beaten up, bloodied, and suffocating. Yet the absurdity is we think we can commit our lives to Jesus and have earthly comfort too. We think we can be crucified with Christ and yet continue to live. On the contrary, as Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live (Galatians 2:19-20).” Everything we once desired and chased after is dead. All our personal preferences and opinions are dead. They’ve been crucified.
Choosing the cross or comfort is not a one-time decision. It is something we must continue to decide every day of our lives. Serving Jesus is hard work and when we get tired we will be tempted to ease off and seek our own comfort. There is a difference between personal comfort and finding rest in Jesus. The difference is our focus. Are we seeking Him or seeking self? Self seeks comfort and enjoyment on earth. A crucified body can find rest only in Jesus and a life beyond this broken one.
It’s so much easier said than done. We do countless mock crucifixions throughout our lives. We claim to crucify ourselves but get back up and live as if it never happened. That doesn’t happen if the crucifixion was real. You can’t put something to death one day and watch come back to life tomorrow. In all of history, only Jesus managed to pull that off.
If we’re serious about following Jesus, about living the life of a disciple, we must crucify self once and for all. We must never let it get back up. The power of God within us gives us the ability to make this happen. We simply must ask and legitimately want it to happen. Jesus will never crucify against our will. He leaves the choice to us. But the consequences of our decision are gravely and eternally significant. Which will you choose, the cross or comfort? Be assured if you choose the cross, there is no turning back. Understand to what you are committing, but also understand this is what God requires. It’s Heaven or Hell, self or God. You must decide between the cross or comfort.