Sunday, July 26, 2009

Do You Wear A Cross?

Do you wear a cross pendant? What does it represent to you? If Jesus died for us and we are saved and baptized do we need to keep asking for forgiveness? If so how often? 

 “If we confess our sins he is faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In other words, if we confess we will be cleansed of ALL unrighteousness that is within us. What are the implications of this verse? In Matthew 16:24 we read, “Then Jesus told his disciples how to do this.  “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” IF you want to learn the way, IF you want to begin this journey, IF you want to pay the price, Do what? Die?

 Obviously, this does not mean to physically hurt or to kill ones self. But in the spiritual sense we are challenged to do so. If we consider this passage from Matthew then it is clear on what it means to follow Jesus.  We must take up our own cross. We so quickly choose to wear a metal cross around our neck but how often do we think about what it symbolizes? A cross represents the cruelest form of punishment that a person could bear. Picture this for one moment. The mental anguish as you are being beaten to a pulp while being verbally abused, feelings of embarrassment from being stripped naked for all to see, the brutal pain from the beatings as the body minute by minute drains itself of every ounce of life, until there is nothing left. No emotions, nothing left to hide, no strength to live.  What is left? Death. 

Jesus gave it all,all of himself in obedience to the Father, when he said, “Not my will but yours.” Taking up our cross means to give up all we are and have. Death to self. What is left? Jesus.  We surrender all. That encompasses everything.  It is not until we deny everything about ourselves that Christ can live within us. We (our body, mind, soul) cannot serve two masters. We die to ourselves, our thinking, our doing, and allow God to work in and through us. As strange as it may sound, this is the only way to live and to live abundantly, to die to ourselves and let Christ live in us.  This is so well illustated in the story of the Two Wolves.  (see: A Battle Rages Within Us: Two Wolves).

How is one able to do this? By staying in the word. The Truth (Word of God) will set you free. When we read the scripture we hear the voice of God, we feel his sensitivity, we see through his eyes, we taste the “living water,” we smell the sweet savor of His presence in our lives. The more of Jesus we have, the less of us we see. We die. We take up our cross. 

Some think that when we are saved and baptized that every sin from that point is forgiven. Baptism is symbolic of the saving grace of Jesus in our lives. It is an outward expression of what Christ has done for us inwardly. He washed our sins away by the sheding of his blood. We bury the old body and receive a new one, one that is under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is an outward testimony that we are confessing Him as Savior and Lord in our lives. His gift is once and for all times. However we must take up our cross daily.  Working out our salvation is a lifelong process. Each day, all day long we must die to ourselves. As the Holy Spirit speaks into our lives and convicts us, we are to be obedient. We we fail we are to confess then and make it (what ever is wrong) right.  We are not alone. God will help us. He is our strength. The result is that God is exalted. However, we must daily confess our sins. Where, When, How?  Wherever we are, whenever the Holy Spirit convicts, and However He leads you to confess.  When ever we are obedient in this way our God and Savior, Jesus, is exalted. 

Surrender all to Jesus.

As you adorn that cross necklace have you considered that you may be wearing a cross but in actuality you have never picked up your cross? How serious do you take the wearing of a cross pendant? What is your interpretation of "picking up your cross and following Christ"? You can learn more about giving your life to Christ by clicking here.