“And He (Jesus) said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
The world says to us all, depend on ourselves in order to lighten our load and follow our heart. Our moral authority becomes our sin sick heart.
The Believer cannot follow Jesus until self is denied. Depending upon our self efforts, intellect, talents, abilities and education in order to follow Jesus results in a heavy yoke of man’s religious rules in order to be deemed “holy” and “righteous”. The cross in which the self dependent bears is a burden, not a blessing. Their mask of sanctimonious religion is clearly seen by the spiritual and highly coveted by the fleshly.
The Cross of Christ was a place of great suffering for Jesus but for us, it is a place of great blessing. Denying ourselves and picking up OUR cross, the blessings of which Jesus Christ provided us at Calvary’s Cross, enables us to follow Him. Reckoning ourselves free from sin and no longer bound by sin’s dominion because our faith is placed solely and exclusively in the Cross of Christ, we walk freely in God’s Grace. Our faith properly placed in Christ Jesus, not in ourselves, the Holy Spirit superintends the work of God in our hearts; removing the evil desires that once ruled our heart and occupied our mind and replacing them with the heartbeat of God’s Will…not our own. The two edged sword which severs with one edge, heals with the other. We are not rehabilitated but regenerated into a new creature in Jesus. These are spiritual things that the world understands not; the intellect cannot process but the heart reveals the fruit of which is now Godly and not dead. The cross of which we bear is a blessing.
“11 Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Romans 6:11-13
Picking up our cross is denying ourselves and yielding unto God. Spiritually alive unto God, we are no longer a slave to sin’s dominion. Our faith placed in the Cross of Christ, where sin’s penalty was paid and it’s power broken, we no longer have to yield until unrighteousness. Before our Salvation, the devil was our lord and sin’s power dominated our lives. The good things we did fed our pride and self righteousness because they were done with the wrong motive. The “good” of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil deceives many into thinking they are “good” with God when in fact they are at enmity with God. Their “good” is as Cain’s “good”…evil to the core.
“But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Satan’s intent is to distract our mind with the things of this world. He will cloak the things of this world in Scripture in order to deceive causing us to place our faith in things we do, our abilities, talent, etc.; things of which the Holy Spirit is not commissioned to superintend. The result is the Cross of Christ becoming of no effect in the Believer’s life. This result hinders the Believer’s testimony or destroy’s their faith all together. Beware of the distracted mind which tends to things of this world. Lay up your treasures in Heaven…be determined to know nothing else among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified and your wary soul will find rest; the sin sick heart will find healing; the captives will be set at liberty. There is freedom in the Cross of Christ that few find because it has been corrupted with the lies of the enemy. Their’s is another gospel and another Jesus with a heavy yoke of religious rules which appeal to the flesh and appear as “good”.
“28 Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take My Yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For My Yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Following Jesus is not a burden but a freedom. The fight is the good fight of faith in the Cross of Christ and not our self dependence. Fight the good fight. Lay hold on eternal life.
-Donna Clark Warren