There are familiar expressions that we may have heard at one point or another such as “no pain, no gain,” “cheap things not good and good things not cheap,” “who in the kitchen feel the heat,” “nothing good in life comes easy,” and “the harder the battle the sweeter the victory.”
Whether you have heard them or not, I believe it is the same concept that Jesus used when He communicated to the multitude that constantly thronged Him as spoken of in the gospel according to Luke 14:27 when He said, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” What was the cross being referred to? The cross is the cost and it is the price that we all have to pay as follower of Jesus Christ. Some crosses are heavier making the burden to bear even greater. Some are not as heavy but the result is the same, it is a cross to bear and it is a price to pay! It is a life lived in total submission to God’s will, His plan and His way. It means being crucified to the flesh so that the spirit man living in us may now be in total control of our soul and body.
“I crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2: 20)
In the book of Hebrews, the penman made a similar point in reference to the cross and the cost, that Christ did not give up because of the cross. Quite to the contrary, He suffered inhumane hardships but because of the joy that was waiting for Him, He thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and so that now He is seated at the right hand of God’s throne. Now even though the disciples are not all crucified, yet it is the word of God they all have to bear crosses. The Apostle Paul endured because he had the mind of Christ. He and His fellow ministers experienced beatings, imprisonment, riots, hard labor, great opposition, hunger and even sleepless nights. (2 Corinthians 6:5) But yet we see, with a Christ-like mind and a Christ-like dignity, they all endured the sufferings.
Being followers of Christ we too must be content to be put into ill names, and to be loaded with infamy and disgrace, go through hellish situations, to bear the burden of others just as He did for us. Much of my own struggles in life thus far I have summarized and shared in my personal testimony entitled, “The Alphabet of A Fiery Trial – A Preacher’s Real Life Story.” http://www.propheticministeryiwilson.org/p/testimonies.html Every man loves his own life and we really do not choose the type of cross that we must carry. But Christ has made it absolutely clear we cannot be His disciples if we do not love Him more than we love our own lives. A tough call if you ask me!
With Christ being our greatest example of a life lived in totally submission to His Father and the cross that He chose for Him, means that we too have that Christ-likeness and ability to bear whatever cross is chosen for us. We are also compassed about by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12: 1) and to mention a few, Paul and Silas, Stephen, Peter, Job, David and Jeremiah. In recent history there was Martin Luther King Jr., an ordained minister who before he was shot to death, spoke out against the injustices and the racial discrimination. Did he choose that for himself? I believe that it was God who led him on that path to be a vessel and a voice that would speak out on His behalf.
“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 3:12)
What are the lessons to be learned today? Let us keep running straight toward the goal, not as one claiming to have already succeeded or have already become perfect, but let us run as striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won Himself. (Phil 3:12) Let us choose to rejoice in the Lord always. (Philippians 4: 4) Give thanks to God not for the difficult situation or the heavy cross you are made to carry, but while in it be content, be thankful and trust God. He will give you inner peace and joy. Totally surrender your will to Him, be still and know that He is God. Pray fervently and be gentle knowing that while we may have a cause to weep only for a night, our joy will come in the morning. (Psalm 30:5b) Individually we must present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice which is our principle and reasonable duty to Him. Presenting both our body and our spirit to Him denotes a voluntary act and implies not only the avoidance of sin committed with or against the body, but it must be set apart for God and put to holy uses. Finally, let us not be conformed to the standards of the world (to the worldly practices of men) but rather let us seek God more for a deeper revelation of His mind while He in turn transform ours!
God bless you as we have now come to the end of another “EMPOWERMENT MOMENT.” Always remember to, “Empower your life, empower your mind, impact the world and see the difference it makes”
Minister Yvonne I. Wilson