The Reward of Taking Up Your Cross

The reward of taking up your cross can be overshadowed by the challenging, ever changing things of this world. Amidst the family gatherings that are scheduled for this coming Resurrection Sunday, it’s important to remember that not only did our Lord and Savior have to take up His cross, but we must take up our own as well. The good news is that our rewards are tied to both crosses which is something we can really celebrate!

King Jesus On His Cross.

“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:


Before this, Jesus had predicted his death and resurrection while instructing His disciples to take up their cross and follow Him.

Taking Up Our Cross.

“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34)

Key Considerations To Crosses.

During Jesus’ earthly ministry in the 1st century, the cross represented death by crucifixion which was beyond a painful and humiliating experience. The Roman Empire forced their convicted criminals to carry their crosses to their designated places of crucifixion as evidenced by the verses listed above in John 19:17-19.

Nearly two millennia later, Christians reflect upon the cross of Christ and celebrate our risen Lord and Savior. Our view is totally different now than in approximately AD 30 when Jesus was crucified.

First of all, it’s our choice as to whether or not we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and follow Him. God gave us free will which we can and do exercise either to our overall good or severe detriment.

Jesus chose to obey God’s will for His life and took up His cross out of obedience. (Philippians 2:8)

As disciples of Christ, we each must obey God’s will for our lives, walk in His commands, and take up our cross out of obedience. (Matthew 10:38)

Salvation Is Free, But It Will Cost You Everything.

Shortly after my husband and I accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-10) a few decades ago, I heard what I thought was just a Christianese one-liner, “Salvation is free, but it will cost you everything.”

If we truly deny ourselves of our agendas, take up our cross of sacrifice for whatever God is calling us to do, and follow Jesus, it just might cost us everything.

However, this is all a matter of perspective. If we can view our lives through the lens of eternity, we wouldn’t deem that the call of God upon our lives is unduly costly or burdensome.

It’s fulfilling our God-given destiny that is vital, not what we may think is important or how we want to live our lives or in the way someone else deems that we should.

Every cross or type of suffering or sacrifice has a purpose.

In the case of our Lord and Savior, it was to fulfill God’s destiny in His life which was the salvation of all mankind. (Romans 6:10; 1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 9:26-28 and 10:10; and 1 John 2:2)

Haywire Isn’t Just For Farms!

When I was growing up on our family farm, I heard the word haywire more times than I can remember. I just thought it pertained to the fences, bales of hay, and most everything that could be fixed by Hank, one of our multi-talented farming neighbors.

I can still see Hank in my mind’s eye who was blessed with a very pleasant demeanor. He was a tall, blonde-haired Swede with a large gap between his front teeth. He wore blue and white striped, bibbed overalls, and a straw hat when working in the fields or milking his cows twice a day. When he would receive an SOS call from my daddy to come over to Sage Creek Farms to help repair something, he would jovially ask, “What kind of a haywire outfit is this anyway?”

It didn’t take me long to realize that haywire isn’t just for farms where its name was derived from the smooth wire used to bale hay!

As things break down or cease to function properly and life takes a sudden turn in an unexpected direction, a lot of things can go haywire in short order.

Denying ourselves, taking up our crosses, and following Jesus isn’t just for our ordinary days, but especially for our out-of-control ones.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)

Listening to our pastor’s message on Sunday, March 12, 2023, I heard in the Spirit, “Your rewards are tied to both crosses.”

I was thankful for this reminder considering all of us who are trying to navigate the various spheres in our lives these days, some of which are growing increasingly challenging due to external forces over which we have no control.

Our Crowns Are Different Than Our Rewards.

Throughout our lives, as we walk with the Lord and study scripture, we must keep our eyes on the Prize, i.e., Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and we’re in it to win it, i.e., a seat at the Wedding Feast or Marriage Supper of the Lamb with our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Matthew 22:1-14 and Revelation 19:7-9)

I’ve already made my reservation, and I hope you have as well.

The Greek word for crown is stephanos (pronounced stef’-an-os), Strong’s G4735), which meanings are as follows:

I.  a crown

 A. a mark of royal or (in general) exalted rank.

    i. the wreath or garland which was given as a prize to victors in public games

  B. metaphorically, the eternal blessedness which will be given as a prize to the genuine servants of God and Christ: the crown (wreath) which is the reward of the righteousness

  C. that which is an ornament and honour to one.1

Here’s a list of our crowns:

  1. Crown of life – James 1:12; Revelation 2:10
  2. Imperishable Crown – 1 Cor. 9:25
  3. Crown of righteousness – 2 Tim. 4:8
  4. Crown of Glory – 1 Peter 5:4
  5. Crown of Rejoicing – 1 Thess. 2:19; Phil. 4:1

The Greek word for reward is misthos (pronounced mis-thos’), Strong’s G3408, which means the fruit naturally resulting from toils and endeavors. (John 4:36)

  1. dues paid for work

 A.wages, hire

  1. reward: used of the fruit naturally resulting from toils and endeavours

A. in both senses, rewards and punishments

B. of the rewards which God bestows, or will bestow, upon good deeds and endeavours

C. of punishments2

“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’” (Matthew 25:34-36)

“And behold, I [Jesus] am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.” (Revelation 22:12)

Following Jesus’s Example To Maintain Our Joy.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

I deem that joy is one of the most difficult things to maintain while taking up our cross daily and following Jesus.

There are times when the heavier our cross, the less joy we experience.

Words of Encouragement & Helpful Hints.

Whether your cross is feeling super heavy or rather light, here are some words of encouragement from the Word of God:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philippians 2:3)

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Your cross is not going to be the same as someone else’s cross.

“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)

Prophetic Insights For Daily Living.

#1.  When daily carrying your cross, what are some practical ways you’ve found to maintain your joy?

lemon tea pot and tea cup
A Cup of Joy

#2.  Do you find yourself comparing your cross to that of someone else? Is this a spiritually healthy practice?

#3.  Every cross or type of suffering or sacrifice has a purpose. Sometimes we must dig deeply to determine this, but knowing the purpose for something can help us navigate the journey with added strength.

#4.  Is it helpful for you to think of tying your cross to your ultimate heavenly crowns and rewards? If so, how?

Give praise and thanks to Jesus because He ultimately makes both our crowns and rewards available to us.

#5.  For you personally, what is the most meaningful aspect of the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection wherein He overcame death, hell, and the grave, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven? (Psalm 110:1; Mark 16:19; Hebrews 10:12-14; and 1 Peter 3:22).

Thank You, Father, for sending us Your precious Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to die on the cross for our sins, so we can attain eternal life through Him. Please help us to daily walk in obedience to Your commands and to live in joy, strength, wisdom, power, confidence, boldness, and victory. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen!

Until the next message,

SFE (Sheila, Fellow Encourager)

Sheila F. Eismann, Prophetic Seer, Blogger, & Author, publishes her blog posts endeavoring to encourage others through God’s word.  Her writings include instructions on how to apply prophetic insights for daily living.

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