I would kill you myself if I could!” were the thoughts I had about someone who I desire to see walk closely with the Lord. You see, scripture tells us clearly…”If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it,” (Matthew 16:24-25). I wanted that someone to “find their life!”
I see clearly on the Back 9….that you can’t lose a life for anyone else….and God has a cross for everyone to carry.
I am overcome with grief, at times, when I see that someone I care about seems lost and the best I can observe is that they have not taken up “their cross!” It is our individual choice to decide to die to self and pick up the cross God has for each one of us. I have to give my sadness to God in prayer and evoke my faith and trust in God to do His work in their lives, in His way and in His timing.
What most don’t understand and I what want to shout from the top of my lungs is that…dying to self is a fabulous thing. It is at that point that God has been given complete control of our lives to do the supernatural that only HE CAN DO! Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Can I just SHOUT HERE? GOD HAS GOOD WORKS FOR EVERYONE TO DO. Only when we deny self…and pick up our cross…can God start to DO GOOD WORKS. Works we can’t even begin to fathom. This doesn’t mean that it won’t come with some difficulty and adversity.
I have had to realize and accept that many times, often times, failure is a sharp tool that God uses to help us get to the place of death to ourselves. The cross is a custom-designed assault to remove pride and self-assurance. Its primary goal is humility, greater dependence on God and increased intimacy with the Father. Failure breaks down the strong desire in my/your/our heart to see my/your/our name in lights or a big bank account. He will destroy the false-self, performance-driven personality we have lived with to gain acceptance.
When He finally breaks you of the personal fleshly lust for recognition, wealth, pleasure, or all of them, it is then and only then that He may place you before the lights in ways you have never imagined, or entrust you with wealth….because death of self is the goal…so that Christ may live through us and in us and accomplish His good, pleasing and perfect will.
I/you/we all need to recognize that the cross is for every believer, there are no exceptions. I can honestly say…adopting the simple daily prayer, “God help me to die to self today,” has been life-changing. Because of my sin nature and Satan’s ongoing war-waging tactics to throw road blocks in my way, some days can be difficult and downright exhausting….especially the recognition of sin. It is a real downer. I have learned to quickly confess and repent.
But let me be crystal clear, carrying the cross God has for me is exhilarating. HE gives a Holy excitement, a Holy energy, a HOLY existence. It gives peace, joy, and adventure every day in my life. I personally have no desire to lead my own life. :o)
I can honestly say…consciously…daily….”visualizing” God leading me is fun. Every corner I turn I literally expect to see God. I am looking for Him and HE doesn’t disappoint me…ever:) The disappointment comes when I get going with my day and realize I have put down the cross and run ahead of God, picking up something else temporarily–pride, selfish desire, anger–to name a few. Thankfully the conviction comes. Ouch! But it is a good ouch. It makes me immediately hit the “refresh button” and pick up the cross and keep moving. :o)
Point of post…You cannot carry anyone else’s cross.
God only has one for each person. 🙂 If you haven’t been to your own funeral and “died to self” consider doing it today. You can carry your cross and enjoy the journey. It might seem that carrying “your cross” is burdensome…but when you are led by God…and the power of His Supernatural Hand…it is quite the opposite..there is JOY, PEACE and a COMFORT in living in His perfect will. Just know, “carrying your cross” is the strongest witness to someone who has chosen not to carry theirs. God’s plan when you pick up your cross is a GREAT ONE. It comes from a perfect God. When you pick up your cross, it is then that others may be encouraged to pick theirs up.
The disciples all watched Jesus carry His cross. What did that accomplish? They all picked up theirs and influenced millions. :o) Jesus’ half-brother James didn’t become a believer until Jesus died on the cross he carried and then was resurrected.
Be encouraged today…deny yourself. Pick up “Your cross”. It is then and only then that your created purpose is fulfilled and it will encourage others to pick up theirs.