I was washing dishes this morning and was singing an old hymn called ‘The Way of the Cross Leads Home.” As I was singing this song, it rang clearly through my mind the phrase “the way of the CROSS leads home (heaven)”.
All of a sudden I realized that there was more to this phrase than we typically think about. What Jesus said in the Scriptures came to mind, “If any man wants to follow Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” Mark 8:34. Matt 10:38 says, “whosoever does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” Wow, these are pretty heavy scriptures.
I don’t think we as Christians in America really realize that these words which Jesus said to us in His Word is truly the WAY that leads us home (to heaven & eternal life with God our Father & Jesus). We are so comfortable in our lifestyle here & we go about business as usual, while the world and its justification for sin has influenced us in our actions & behavior; instead of the Body of Christ influencing the world today. We have lost our biblical perspective. We have lost our saltiness; Matt 5:13-16 says “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:16. I fear we are no longer lights set on a hill being beacons of light to a lost and dying world.
We have been seduced into thinking about ourselves constantly; how I feel, what I want, what pleases me, my plans for happiness, my desires to do or be this or that, me, me, me, it is a me-ism society today that screams this message to our minds through TV, music, commercials & etc. until we begin to just assimilate it sub-consciously and thus we begin to respond to its message in our attitudes, actions, words & minds.
But it is a deeper life and much more is required of us than we think or realize. Satan has done a good job influencing us so that we no longer are occupied with the thoughts that the Word tells us to think about. For example:
The Word clearly says, “Phil 4:8 “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such thing.” God is so good, He even tells us what we ought to think about, and not think in terms of complaining, backbiting, gossiping, putting others down, always being negative, demanding our own rights, thinking we have all the right answers and not listening to others who may have input that deserves to be heard, considered and respected as brothers and sisters with love and patience. We really aren’t right about everything you know, just most things! Ha ha.
The Bible tells us in Phil 2:3 “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, but in meekness esteem others as better than yourselves”. “What you’ve done for the least of these My brethren, you have done it unto me.” “Give (time, money, self) and it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over”. “No greater love hath a man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.” “Love one another even as I have loved you”. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” So many, many scriptures tell us to think, care, love others and not ourselves. Yet what do we do, think about, care about most? Ourselves.
The Bible is so different from our way of thinking. Jesus said, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me. Our cross is when the Holy Spirit prompts us to do or not to do something, to say or not to say something, to act in a certain way that we don’t feel like acting and our flesh inside us wants to scream because it wants to do just the opposite; when our will crosses with His will; that is getting on the cross and denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily in order to follow Him. It requires a YIELDING to the Holy Spirit and God’s Word in obedience. Oh how we need to be in God’s Word so we know what we are supposed to do. Denying ourselves is to give up our will, our way, our plan for each day. The Bible says “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord.” Each day surrendering our day and plan for the day to the Lord, so that His plan and will can be accomplished through us with the right attitude.
Taking up our cross is the only way our flesh can die to self. And by yielding or surrendering over and over again to the Holy Spirit until this flesh is dead. Each time we Yield instead of letting the flesh win in our battle against sin, we become a little more and a little more and a little more transformed to becoming like Jesus with His mind & thought, with His love for others, seeing situations and people as He sees them. Oh how wonderful that would be to experience this state in our present life and walk in this each & every day. To please Him in all we do and are for His sake? Matt 27:22 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Romans 12 it says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
We can’t do this on our own. So let us pray every morning when we wake up that the Holy Spirit would take possession of us (“it is not I that live, but Christ that lives in me to the glory of God.”) Let us surrender to Him and ask Him to direct our day, and help us to be filled with Him so we would respond by Him and not react in the flesh to anything that comes our way that day. This would be Walking in the Spirit.
Let us repent of being so SELF Centered. Let us “examine ourselves to see if we be in the faith”. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” Let us then ask God to make us GOD centered. Asking for Him to help us obey Him and His Word, remembering what Jesus said, in John 14:23KJV, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” WOW what a great scripture! Can you image that! That God & Jesus will come and live in us if we only obey Him and live to obey, honor & love Them above all else.
We have so much to look forward to my dear ones, and so let us set out on a brand new path to obey God and try to bring Him pleasure and joy from our live here on earth, caring and loving others, thinking more highly of others than ourselves and being a real example of what a Christian is to this world.
Then we shall become overcomers who glorify God and He will welcome us into heaven with open arms and we will enjoy His presence forever and ever and share in His glory eternally. Oh what a blessed hope we have. A-Men? Yes a-men.