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Chapter 7 - The Cross
Every man will find his discipline, and every man will find his cross. All Christians are not disciples. When He first introduces the cross, it is to Christians. Jesus Christ never places a cross on anybody. It is in our volitional Power of will to choose. He doesn’t lay a cross on us “so we can love Him!” No, we voluntarily take it. He never imposes it; it will be the instrument on which we will be slain. Our cross will be the most liberating thing in our life. As with Christ’s cross, it liberates and sets free everything in salvation, and the things of God.
If we want to sidestep the cross and miss its ministries, we won’t go to hell, but, if we sidestep this cross, we will sidestep one of the greatest agencies in the economy of God to bring us into God. He says, “Come, take up this cross as a voluntary act.” The cross is the instrument of death, but it brings a fuller revelation to our hearts and lives than that of any other agency in His economy.
If we would know fellowship in the future, we must know it now. We must know the cross in its two fold teaching; not only sins forgiven, but, on the other side, joy: agony—but joy. Embrace it; hang on to it; cruel and bitter though it is; for joy and a sensing of God, as never before, will follow.
Be willing for the crucifixion, because it is the author of LIFE.
The more spiritually-minded we are in heart and life, the more we can understand the revelation of God, and the more we understand the cross.
“Though He were a Son,” He learned obedience continually. (Heb. 2:10; 5:8) That was like a cross. Learning obedience is a cross which we will have too, if we want to follow Him. “If any man wants to follow Me (to My destiny), let him take up his own cross and follow Me.” But this is not the cross which He lays on us; it is something that we may voluntarily resist or accept. It is a cross distinct from trials and testings that He brings upon us. It does amount to great suffering, but it is a suffering in which we have the power to resist if we don’t want to take it. Sometimes, for example, great teaching, a great revelation, amounts to a cross. We know if we take that cross up, if we embrace that Truth, if we dare to subject ourselves under the impact and power of that Truth, it is going to be a terrific cross that will kill us. It will crucify us. Well, it is supposed to! Take up YOUR cross.
Your cross and my cross will vary according to the disposition, and the calling of our lives, so we don’t have the same in that sense, but everyone will have one.
Why? Because in God’s economy and purpose for us, He knows the pattern, the situation, the episode that will perfectly crucify our old flesh. So He says: “Will you voluntarily take it? You pick it up. You know what My cross did for Me. It was the place of My execution; it was the place where I died; now, you take yours. It will be the place of the execution of the creature that you are; it will slay you. I don’t lay it upon you; I want you to voluntarily take it up, for then your identification with Me will be what I want—a voluntary love and surrender.”
So, He will bring a cross to you; it may take different shapes and forms, but it is always a cross. I can’t interpret your cross; nobody but you can. So when God brings it, don’t be amazed, upset, and confused.
He says, “Take it up.” For if you take up your cross; this decision, this consideration, this surrender; if you take that up into your life pattern and walk, you will have a crown over there. Because the sequel, the answer, to a cross is a crown. And there is no crown without a cross, because every cross, if borne, will take a crown.
“Hold that fast which thou hast . . .” What do we have? We have the Truth, which becomes a cross, which will slay every one of us. Hold fast to the Truth as to a treasure, lest something come along, and snatch it away. Hold fast the Word of Truth which is a cross; it will eventually spell a crown. Snatch your crown! For the crown is the answer to the Truth. Hold to your Truth; hold to your cross; lest in not holding it, the crown is affected.
What is the symbol of suffering? It is the cross.
Christ had His cross every day, and Calvary was the climax. “He was made perfect through suffering.” Ready for supreme sacrifice, suffering had done the silent, sacred ministry. “. . . Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross . . .” (Heb. 12:2). “. . . Our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Cor. 4:17) He has gone, but He left His cross. Every man has his own cross to bear, but the sequel is life and secret joy— the crown.
Your cross is your crown in disguise.
Prayer: May we interpret the cross, the crown, the Truth.
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