Friday, April 18, 2014

The Cross is Personal

When Jesus picked up a wooden cross and died on it, He was not dying for His principles. It was personal—He died “for” you and me. And when Jesus said “pick up your cross” (Luke 9:23), He made the “cross” even more personal—that we die “with” Him. 

“Your cross” points to something individual, and personal: to give up ownership of your desires, ambitions, and plans. Not that they are sinful (some of them may be), but they now serve God's purpose. Jesus warned his cross-bearing followers that devotion to Him would mean a detachment from things on earth, even the right to one’s own life:

“You are not your own; you are bought with a price that you should no longer live for yourself, but for Him who died and rose again on your behalf” (1 Co. 6:20). Only by picking up your cross, by losing your life, will you find your life (Matt. 10:39). And you can't get any more personal than that. Have a blessed Easter!


  1. When you mentioned the right to one's own life it came to mind this devotional by Oswald Chambers from "My Utmost for His Highest": Day March 21. It reads as follows: "I have been crucified with Christ..." (Galatians 2:20)
    'The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature. I must take my emotional opinions and intellectual beliefs and be willing to turn them into a moral verdict against the nature of sin; that is, against ANY CLAIM I HAVE TO MY RIGHT TO MYSELF. Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ..." He did not say, "I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ," or, "I will really make an effort to follow Him" --but--"I have been IDENTIFIED WITH HIM IN HIS DEATH." Once I reached this moral decision and act on it, all that Christ accomplished for me on the Cross is accomplished in me. My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant me the holiness of Jesus Christ.
    "It is no longer I who live..." (what a relief!) My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but THE OLD SATANIC RIGHT TO MYSELF has been destroyed. (Halleluiah!)
    "...and the life which I now live in the flesh," not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live , but the life I now live in my mortal flesh--the life which others can see, "I live by faith in the Son of God..."

  2. Good morning Greg,
    Good reminders this day before Good Friday. Thank you!
    Though I have paid nothing for it, I owe everything to it. And if I want to experience all of it, I need to sacrifice all of me. And when I sacrifice all of me, I become the actualized person that God intended. Though it is available to all, if but for one, it would be for me. Our salvation is an experience that has been shared, but in our crisis moments, it is the most personal of experiences. Christ in us, the hope of glory!
    Larry Q

  3. Patricia: thank you so much for sharing Oswald's devotional with us. What a great word!

  4. Larry, "actualized" is a good word. In psychology is he concept of self-actualization as though something we do can actualize us, becoming all that we want to be. How do you compare that with the joy of becoming all the He wants me to be!

  5. As I was reflecting on the necessity of the cross in our lives I decided to refresh my memory on the subject and went read a chapter from "The Spiritual Man" by Watchman Nee. I think the book opened itself on the right chapter. I leave you the reference from Living Stream Ministry in case you desire to read it. It cover various pages. The material cannot be copied in any form, it is made available just to read it online. It confronts our self nature in an amazing way.
    May we be honest about ourselves and let the Lord have His way. Amen