Apr 6, 2011

Take Up Your Cross

What does it mean to take up our cross daily and follow Him? I think of the cross and I think of two beams intersecting each other. One of those beams (to me) represents the way of God and the other the way of man. Had Adam and Eve never sinned , there would never heave been the need for the cross. Yet they did sin. They chose to go their own way and so have all of their offspring. To take up our cross means to me ,to come to a cross roads (where we have to decide which way to go) and to forsake our own way and go the hard way like Jesus did. This forsaking our own way begins at the day of our salvation, but continues on each and every day after.

1 Peter 2:25 All like sheep have gone astray, but now we have returned to the shepherd and Bishop of our souls...

We return to God through Jesus atoning blood and we are saved...Yet this salvation still needs to be worked out in us..

Philippians 2:12Work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure.

The way it is worked out in us is by taking up our cross daily and following Him. We will come to these cross roads on our journey through life all the time and each time we will have to choose which way to go. Each time we choose His way over our own we give opportunity for the Spirits work to be worked out in us. The fear and trembling at the cross roads is a good thing, knowing that if we choose our own way it is the way of death. We should fear God above the enemy who tries to convince us that Gods way isnt good and who is VERY convincing at times. Yet each time we resist the devil and go Gods way our will to do what is right becomes stronger..."For it is God who works in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure." The only way He can do this is through willing consent to the truth of His word on our part.. He wont violate our will. As we consent to the truth and choose His way, He gives us his power to accomplish what He has commanded us to do...Each time we see his power become available to us that way OUR will is bending towards His way. He is reshaping our will through these experiences.

Psalm 19:7 Every word of God is pure to the conversion of the soul.

Prov 30:5 Every word of God is pure . He is a shield to those who out their trust in Him. (The word is a person -His name is Jesus)

John 1:1 and John 1:14

In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God , and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth

We behold His glory in His word....let us not just receive the parts that seem graceful to us, but also the parts that are filled with what seems hard to us. And let us not hide our faces from the purifying fire of His glory.

Hebrews 4:12The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Thank you Jesus- You are the Master surgeon of open heart surgery. May my heart always be open to what you need to do to make me well. May I never reject your quest to pierce me with your purifying word, because I know that you wound but you also heal.

John 6:53 Most assuredly I say to you that unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man (bread of life-partake of His word), and drink his blood (cup of suffering-do his word), you have no life in you.

Even Jesus said:

John 4:34My food is to do the will of my Father who sent me

Food =Life

Obedience to the Fathers will was Jesus #1 burning passion- and obedience to the Father meant suffering for Jesus, as it will for us also.

The Fathers will is revealed in His word- Obedience to His word will mean suffering.

I believe this is why John 6:53 doesnt JUST say : eat the flesh of the son of man ONLY..... it also says drink his blood.... Because many eat or partake of the His flesh (the bread of life ) His word, but dont practice it which is where the suffering comes in.

In the practice of it , or excercise is the suffering. But no pain no gain.......If we want to be fit spiritually speaking, we have to work out too!
Obedience to His word will cost you. But what you gain far exceeds the cost.
You must be willing to forsake your own understanding and walk by faith to do His will
and when you do, people will misunderstand. As we walk in the light the darkness in the lives of those around us will be exposed which makes many people uncomfortable and many times they will lash out or run from the light. You will lose friends!
To take up our cross is to obey His voice above all others.
To walk in the Spirit and not according to the flesh. It is to crucify the flesh!
Jesus said

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice , and I know them and they follow Me
I looked up some of the words in that verse :
My sheep hear (give audience , come, understand) -my voice , and I know them (absolutely , perceive, be sure), and they follow me (accompany me , in the same way, a road).
Jesus says referring to His life:
John 10:18
No man taketh it from me, but I Lay it down myself. I have power to lay it down and power to take it again.
To take up our cross is a choice of the will-to willingly follow and obey.
Just like Jesus can lay down his life or take it up again, so do we have that choice. God doesnt force us to obedience. Although He will sometimes cause events to bring about obedience in His stubborn children. What makes obedience to God really precious is when we WILLINGLY obey. Because this requires faith.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God.

Genesis 15:6 Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.

It all boils down to this one thing- faith in His living word=righteousness.

It is a coming together in union of our mind and heart with the mind and heart of God.

Gods will is revealed in His word and when we respond in obedience to His word we come together with the Spirit in an intimacy (we walk in the Spirit)

Galatians 5:16 Walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

We cant do both at the same time... because they are contrary to each other.

Where the spirit leads you and where the flesh will lead you are in opposite directions. So if you walk in the spirit you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8
As we begin to obey and we see the goodness of the Lord thru this intimate union with His spirit, we have a taste of the goodness of God that brings us back for more, just like a taste of a delicious desert brings you back for more.
At this point (of taste) its not a HAVE TO, its now a WANT TO!
Its still faith in His goodness, rather than our own understanding, but now we have a memory to refer back to of the perfume of His goodness being poured out on us as we obey....

To sum it up :Then he said to them all: " Luke 9:22-24
The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
Whoever loses his life for me Jesus said.

Jesus IS the word... Lose yourself for the sake of His word and you will FIND your life!
For you have magnified your word above all your name!
Psalm 138:2
The cross is an offence to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the POWER of God ! 
Jesus suffering was great but HIS RESURRECTION was greater!

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WE HAVE THIS TREASURE IN EARTHEN VESSELS THAT THE EXCELLENCY OF THE POWER MAY BE OF GOD. I am the wife Of Don and mother of two boys and a stay at home mom. My goal is to follow Jesus in all aspects of life but starting first and foremost in my own home.Titus 2:3-5 I stumble often and get discouraged, but am amazed as I go to my Lord in faith that he looks upon me with compassion, forgiveness and love each and every time. His love for me seems to increase as I keep going back to His throne of grace!! Of course I know His love never changes, but my ability to see His love increases each time He picks me up, dusts me off and says "keep on going Ruth.... I love you!" And because of His great love, I am falling more and more in love with Him each and every day.