TAKING UP YOUR CROSS
Luke 9:23-24 KJV: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (24) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Here, the Lord teaches that to follow Him, we MUST take up our cross DAILY.
What does this mean practically?
It means to deny one’s self of food, sleep, sex and other pleasures and things (Mark 4.19) in this life (losing this life) to GIVE EXTRA time in prayer in the Spirit with tongues (1 Corinthians 14.2) and groanings (Rom. 8.26), that will CRUCIFY (that is why it is a cross) the sin nature (Galatians 5.24, Rom. 8.13) in the flesh: soul (will, mind and emotions) and body.
It is this practice of self-denial that makes the path to abundant spiritual life and reigning in life in Christ in this lifetime so narrow that few pay the price to practice it.
Sadly, those who take the broad seemingly easy road wind up with destruction and loss of reward (even though they may still be saved and go to heaven) because they are building their Christian lives with ‘wood’, ‘hay’ and ‘stubble’ rather with ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ as shown in:
1 Corinthians 3:11-17 KJV: For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; (13) Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. (14) If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (15) If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (16) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (17) If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. (14) Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way, which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Doing this DAILY causes us to DIE DAILY spiritually because of the life and power of God that goes out of us in prayer for the blessings and benefit of others, just like the Lord Jesus’ life came out of him on the cross through His blood to give us eternal life (John 3.16).
1 Corinthians 15:31 KJV: I protest by your rejoicing, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
2 Corinthians 4:12 KJV: So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
Daily practice of this causes us to be partakers of His sufferings and become conformable to His death, making us ‘saviours’ out of Zion.
Philippians 3:10 AMP: [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]
Obadiah 1:21 KJV: And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.
Why does God allow us to go through this daily suffering and death?
- To give Him a legal basis for the righteous judgement and eternal punishment of Satan and all rebels: both demonic and human.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-9 KJV: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (6) Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; (7) And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, (8) In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (9) Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
- To reward us in THIS LIFETIME with resurrection life made manifest in our mortal bodies (2 Corinthians 4.10-11) so that after we have suffered (1 Peter 5.10) a while (the early years of our Christian life, like Joseph, who suffered for about 22 years before His dreams were fulfilled (Psalms 105.17-22)), we will spend the rest of our years in pleasures and prosperity (Job.36.11) enjoying ALL things RICHLY (1 Timothy 6.17).
Romans 8:17-18 KJV: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory, which shall be revealed in us.
1 Peter 5:10 KJV: But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
Mark 10:29-30 KJV: And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, (30) But he shall receive a HUNDREDFOLD NOW IN THIS TIME, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
So we should follow Christ’s example of taking of His cross daily, self-denial to give EXTRA time in prayer and supplication, learning like Him obedience (Hebrews 5.7-9) by what we suffer in self-denial KNOWING our suffering is not in vain and will be rewarded in this lifetime!