Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
The past few days we have been on a collision course with the end of this scripture. We are instructed to take up our cross daily and follow Him. Thus far we have seen that we need to desire to go after Jesus. We learned that this desire comes only from the Lord and it is actually the Lord drawing us to Him, John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. But the drawing of the Lord leads us to pursue Him. We must go after Him. To do this we must deny ourself. We must deny our desires and trust that Gods way is the way we must go. I see this as the perfect picture of salvation leading to discipleship. When we get to the part of the verse that instructs us to take up our cross daily, now this is the place, this is the ground upon which intimacy is cultivated and lives are radically and forever changed. Please understand that we are not instructed to take up "a" cross, instead their is ownership in the cross we bear. The scripture says, he must take up "his" cross. You see you have a cross that has your name on it. You have to pick up your cross. You don't need to pick up my cross or your friends cross. You must bear your cross. This is a pretty important part of your walk with Christ, identifying your cross. You see this requires a great deal from you, to locate your cross you must be intimately in tune with Jesus, through this intimacy He will direct you to your cross. How does this happen? You do this by cultivating intimacy with Jesus Christ. You must communicate with Jesus all day every day. Your prayer life must be active and you must be responsive. When Jesus speaks you must listen and respond. You must actively seek His face in all areas of your life, You must deal with the sin in your life and stop acting like you can control your sin. The scripture is clear that a man who sins is a slave to sin. The sin controls way more than you think. Repent from it and seek Jesus. To be in tune with the Lord you must repent from that which is sinful in your life. You must seek forgiveness, but then you must walk forgiven. Do not wallow in your sinful deeds thinking that forgiveness is not available to you. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing and the Lord desires to redeem and restore you. You must also study the Word of God. Yes we always go back to this, mainly because I believe it is the centerpiece of your relationship with Jesus. If you are not studying, the relationship is suffering. Additionally, worship your Lord Jesus Christ. Listen to music that sings praises to His name, thank Him for who He is in your life. Worship all day long, identify His work all throughout your day. Fellowship with His children. Let you conversations be about Him and your talk be real. Respond to Him through every little thing you do each and every day. If HE says turn right, then turn right. If He says call, then call. If He says stop and pray, then stop and pray. Be in the practice of following the lead of the Holy Spirit, it will become how you live and when this happens identifying your cross will be easy because you will be guided to it with precision. The Holy Spirit will guide you to the exact place at the exact time for you to take up your cross. This same Spirit that helps guide you to your cross is the same Spirit that will help you take up your cross. We will get into that tomorrow, but one thing you need to know today is that if you try to take up someone else's cross, you will be worn out. You will be exhausted because the cross that you are called to bear require the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Truthfully, without the Holy Spirit you simply cannot and will not handle what you have been called to do. The Holy Spirit is not going to empower you to take up my cross. He loves you way to much to do that! So I leave you today with your cross identified. Tomorrow we will see what taking up our cross is all about.