The Cross

"If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me." Mark 8:34

In exchange, this is what the Lord says to us...

"I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go." Jeremiah 45:5

Oswald Chambers..."Are you prepared to let God take you into total oneness with Himself, paying no more attention to what you call the great things in life? Are you prepared to surrender totally and let go? Once you do get to the point of total surrender to Him, you will be the most surprised and delighted person on earth. God will have you absolutely, without any limitations, and He will have given you your life."

As I ponder surrender, the cross, giving my life, I realize there is so much about this subject I do not understand. I long to know God, to be approved by God my Father. I've been asking to know Him for such a long time and wanting to live life His way, with His joy. But how? I find so much sorrow, fear, and shame in this life that I have wondered if I can ever again walk in the joy of living.

Mark 8:35-38 

"If you try to hang onto your life, you will lose it. 

"But if you give up your life for My sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

"If anyone is ashamed of Me and of My message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when He returns in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

Shame, sorrow, and fear. I must put it on the cross. If I am selfish I'll keep wallowing in it all, dreading it, crumbling under the load, and hanging onto my life, which will end in losing my life.

But if I am willing to die to all of that shame, fear, and sorrow, if I turn from it and fix my entire life on Jesus, on following Him into anything He chooses, He will give me the rich and satisfying life I long for with all my heart.

In John 10:10 Jesus says, "My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."

What a glorious exchange! What a marvelous revelation! What a beautiful life in Christ Jesus!

What do I consider 'the great things of life' and have I stopped  pursuing them, reaching to achieve them?

~ a godly testimony
~ being approved by all men
~ having no financial difficulties
~ being considered a godly family
~ making wise decisions with time and money
~ being involved in ministry
~ acceptance and approval from spiritual leaders

Good things. But maybe He is adamantly insisting that I die to all of the above in order to have His stamp of approval, in order to really know Him. It is true that all my good works are as filthy rags if they are "the world" to me, if they make me feel accepted in Christ. But if I am willing to put all that on the cross and receive the blood sacrifice Jesus made for me, then am I fully accepted in the beloved and He can give me real overflowing life of purpose.

In truth, I desire approval from God most of all. My goal in life is to know Him.  

Can this be the cross God is asking me to bear for His sake and the Gospel's? In light of having Jesus as Lord, those things are weights,  distractions, if they keep me from knowing Him, being approved by Him, and becoming more like Him.



Jesus never promised to make life in Him a place of ease as we know it, but He did promise to live within us by the Holy Spirit, guiding us into all truth. What is my cross? It is the place where I die to all else that I might live triumphantly in Christ. 

This beloved Jesus brings new life in the desert, beauty from ashes, joy for mourning, and a robe of righteousness for our filthy rags. I choose to turn my eyes to Him, my Lord and my Life! As I take up the cross day by day, He gives me a glorious life in return!

Comments

  1. This made me cry. I don't know of anything in life that cuts deeper than this. And yet we keep praying, "keep me here Lord -don't stop your work in my heart." because as you say -"He gives me a glorious life in return!" Love you, my friend.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anne, I know you understand! Yes, the pain is worth the beautiful healing!

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