…Certainly there are few subjects more challenging and more avoided than crossbearing. Yet crossbearing is foundational to our Christian walk. Without bearing your crosses after Christ, you cannot be a Christian. Jesus said plainly in Luke 14:27, “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
In Christian discipleship, the cross or cross-bearing is a metaphor for suffering and burden-bearing, and involves the taxing and tasting of the strength of our faith. John Calvin taught that crossbearing is an intimate part of the Christian life. He said that those who are in fellowship with Christ must prepare for suffering. One major reason for this is the believer’s perpetual union with Christ. Because Jesus’ life was a perpetual cross, ours must also include suffering. Through crossbearing, we not only participate in the benefits of Christ’s atonement, but we also experience the Spirit’s work of transforming us into the image of Christ.
Crossbearing tests our faith. Through crossbearing, Calvin said, we are roused to hope, trained in patience, instructed in obedience, and chastened for our pride. Crossbearing is our medicine and our chastisement. Through it, we are shown the feebleness of our flesh and are taught to suffer for the sake of righteousness (Institutes, 3.8.1-9). For all these reasons, crossbearing is critical for us. How do we learn to do it?
Walking as He Walked
Joel R. Beeke