Aug 5, 2015

Take Up Thy Cross

The Holy Spirit has been bringing this topic up to me frequently over the past several weeks.  

Matthew 16:24-26 24Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.…

I learned a long time ago that we are taught to "lay our burdens down at the cross" and what I found to be true is that in doing this, we tend to have to return time and time again.  We bring our heartache to the cross, our troubles, our fears, our broken hearts.  And while the cross symbolizes much it does not take the place of Yeshua, Jesus Christ or HIs Holy Spirit.  The burdens we bare needlessly tend to return time and time again, we carry them until we feel we can't any longer then in crisis mode we seek  God on some level.  The Truth is, we shouldn't be carrying those burdens at all, therein lies the problem.  That fact that WE are carrying them, emphasis on ourselves, is the problem.  We are the burden and will continue to be until we do as He said in Matthew.  

We must deny ourselves, our carnal pleasures, our own intellect, our own reasoning, our selfishness and pride, our ways, our thoughts, our speech - until we have been transformed by Him, His Word, His Spirit.  That is the burden to take up our own cross, to deny ourselves and follow Him.  Where do you think He was going when He carried His own cross?  Surely not on a lifelong journey across the land, through many relationships, broken marriages, lost jobs, poverty, sickness.  Surely He wasn't implying this burden to deny yourself would be forever or at least until that one glad morning when this life was o'er, certainly not until we get to that sweet bye and bye?  

He goes on to say anyone who wishes to save his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for His sake would find it.  Now that seems to be an odd contradiction doesn't it.  But take it for it what it is and the context in which He spoke it.  If we don't come to the end of ourselves, hanging on to something that identifies us apart from God, then we seek to preserve our lives.  But if we do what He says and take up our cross and actually follow Him, just a short ways up Calvary's mountain and lose our life for His sake by dying to self, to be born again then surely we will find true life!  

Truly we will inherit the promise of the power of the resurrection.  There can be no resurrection or power of the same unless there is death.  Its so clear to me and such a beautiful and clear message.  Our fleshly minds, our carnal nature is always at odds with the holiness, purity and sanctity of God.  He tells us clearly how to put to death those things that are against Him.  

Romans 8:12-14 12So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- 13for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God...

Likewise we can renew our minds through His Word.   

Ephesians 5:25-27 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.…

Romans 12:1-3 1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.…

This to me is really the beginning of Life.  Understanding the necessity and benefit of taking up our own cross, denying ourselves and following Him.  If you haven't made that walk up to Calvary, while it is a painful and sometimes agonizing process, and sometimes the burden of our own cross, our own lives may be the heaviest to bare, He promises that when we do and follow Him, even unto death, spiritually and otherwise we will have life eternal, abundant life, a ressurected life!  To be born of His Holy Spirit what an awesome exchange that is!  

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