Matthew 16:24-26, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

For many people in the church, their ideas of happiness are indistinguishable from the world around them. Often the ‘Christian’ life is simply a secular life that includes some church activities.

This should not be the case, and it was not the case for Jesus. The Christian way is the cruciform life. The cross is such a common symbol today that it has lost its shock to many of us. In the ancient world, however, the cross was a cruel and intentionally harsh punishment. In addition to prolonging the pain, crucifixion was a means of bringing public shame on a person and to actually reduce them to nothingness.

That is the symbol that Christians claim shapes their lives. Contrary to theologies that appeal to reason, prosperity, self-improvement, or spirituality, Christianity appeals to a crucified savior and a call to embrace suffering to commune with God.