#5 Carrying the Cross - "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
Have you seen the recent DirecTV commercials? I think they are hilarious. There is more than one, but the most recent I have seen has the cable going out. A man throws a controller because he is upset about the cable going out. An announcer then says, "people who throw controllers are seen to have an anger problem...people who are seen to have anger problems do not get phone calls...people who do not get phone calls are all alone....people who are all alone grow long straggly beards....people with long straggly beards often take in stray animals....people who take in stray animals are seen as strange....do not seem strange and take in stray animals - get DirecTV..."
I think the commercials are really funny. And they help illustrate an important point. I am a man who can, and does, worry. I know that it is a sin; yet I find myself often doing it. I find myself worrying about parishoners. I find myself worrying about friends. I find myself worrying about finances, the church, etc....really it can be anything. And what I will often do when I worry is take the situation that I am worrying about and then project that situation into the future - almost like the above commercial. I will say to myself, "well if, 'A' happens, then this will be the next step....then if that happens, this will be the next step....well if that happens, this will be the next step....oh my goodness, if that next step happens, that will be a catastrophe!" Then I begin to attempt to carry the anxiety of the catastrophe. This is pure silliness.
I recently had to call a friend to, "talk me out of the tower" over a situation like this. Jesus does not want us to attempt to carry the cross of future possibilities. One of the things that I love about the above verse is that He says, "He must deny Himself, and take up his cross daily..." He just wants us to carry the cross that He has given us today. He does not expect us to carry a future possible cross. And the silly thing is that it is almost impossible that all the future possibilities could all happen; and yet we begin to worry about all those possibilities!
The simple answer is this - Jesus loves me. He carried the ultimate cross - the one at Calvary. He died. He rose again. He ascended into heaven. He is coming back on the clouds of heaven to receive me. If He forgives my sin, defeats the devil, creates a new heavens and earth for me to live in for eternity, He can - and will - help me through all things. Just do not be silly and attempt to carry the crosses of the future. Carry only those He actually gives us today. Those will be hard enough - and God will give us the grace to get through them.