And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (KJV)
The student council at the large public high school where I teach hosts Safe Decisions Week every year just before Spring Break. It is a week filled with posters and videos urging students not to drink while driving, not to take drugs, and to be sure to practice safe sex if engaging in sex at all. As good as the intentions are behind such a campaign, it is misguided on two levels. It presumes that the only reasons for not engaging in certain behaviors are the practical ones, e.g. you may die, you may get hurt, you may get pregnant. It also suggests, by emphasizing one week out of the year, that safe decisions are not something to think about the other 51 weeks.
The reason for not engaging in destructive behaviors is simply that they bring dishonor to God. By abusing our bodies, we abuse the temple of the Holy Spirit. To engage in premarital sex is to violate the will of God for our lives. These and many others are things we must think about not one week out of the year, not only as we make New Year’s resolutions, not only when we have a moment of conscience, but daily.
Make no mistake, following Jesus is a daily decision. We have been baptized once, but it is a daily choice to take up the cross of right living, the cross of rejection from society, the cross of humbly asking forgiveness for dropping the cross yesterday, and continuing to follow our Lord.
My Lord and my God, strengthen me to carry the cross that You have called me to bear. When I waver, hold me up and make me firm in my walk. If I stumble, help me to my feet. Grant me the grace necessary to bring You honor in all that I say, think, and do. In the name of Christ Jesus, Who bore the cross all the way to Calvary, amen.
Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins