2 Corinthians 5: 20b-6:10
We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance, in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor and good report; genuine, yet regarded impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
This is what it really means to take up your cross and follow Christ. First, we must repent, turn from our sins and be reconciled to God, forgiven by the mercy and grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We must then, be ambassadors, servants representing Christ while we still have God’s favor. We are to walk in relationship with Christ so as not to discredit the good news of salvation knowing that we will suffer hardships and distresses in this world. We must remain pure in the truth and love of the gospel with the power of God. We will be regarded by the world as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. Yes, God expects us to be his light, while we live in a world of darkness and sin. We must be joyful and work hard for the salvation of others. We must endure all things with patience and kindness until the end; knowing our reward will be great.
Father we fall so short when it comes to taking up our cross and winning the lost souls all around us. Help us to open our hearts and share your love and forgiveness to others. We desire to be your righteousness and to be your disciples. Help us to witness our story of salvation with others and to make disciples for your kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus’ we ask. Amen.