May 19, 2011

The Cross Before The Crown

     At each cross roads where we lay down our will and choose rather to live for Christ, we see Him in greater glory than we had previously. Isaiah said in chapter 6 that in the year that King Uzziah died he saw the Lord high and lifted up and the train of His robe filled the temple with glory......  I always saw a literal temple in my minds eye when I read that, but for the first time recently I saw believers as the temple.  We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and it's when we see Him high and lifted up , which happens as we bow ourselves down low, that His glory fills our temple. Just as the disciples saw Christ's glorified body AFTER His death so too do we see Him in all of his glory after we die to our own understanding.  Jesus said deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. There are no mistakes in scripture .  The order of the words is carefully placed by God in his word.  We must take up our cross before we can truly call ourselves his followers. He didn't say follow Me and then take up your cross later on.... We can't follow Him without first deciding as an act of the will to deny ourselves and take up our cross because if we refuse to take up our cross we are in rebellion.  We can call ourselves Christians all we want but if we are not willing to go the way of the cross then it is another gospel we are following after. 
    Through taking up our cross we recieve His strength to follow Him .  The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God unto salvation. (1 Cor 1:18 ) This is why we can't follow him without first taking up our cross.  Because the cross is where the power is TO FOLLOW HIM!   We want the crown of victory without the cross but it doesn't work that way .  It never has and it never will!  And yet so often Christians who are walking in the risen power of Christ as they submit to his word, are accused of being self righteous and works oriented when really it's the other way around!  Those who are trusting in their own strength are the last ones to let Gods word cut away at their flesh . They would rather try to approach God based upon their own merit than to submit to the truth set forth in His word .  Gods word ( Which IS Christ)  denied Himself and took up His cross and in doing that was obedient to the Father and resurrection power was given Him through His submission to the Fathers will.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.  (Hebrews 2:9)
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing. (2 Tim 4:6-8)

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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.