The Lordship of Christ
The number one obstacle that is keeping us from being all that God created us to be is ourselves. Self-sufficient and self-centered living keeps us from finding our sufficiency in Christ. To deny ourselves is to deny self-rule. The flesh scrambles for the throne and wants to play God.
The cross we pick up is the cross of Christ. His cross provided forgiveness from what we have done and deliverance from who we were. We are forgiven because He died in our place; we are delivered because we have died with Him. Seeking to overcome self by self-effort is futile. Self will never cast out self, because an independent self that is motivated by the flesh still wants to be God. When we follow Christ, the Holy Spirit will lead us down the path of death to self-rule. “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body” (2 Cor. 4:11). Denying yourself, picking up your cross daily and following Jesus may sound like a dismal path to take, but it most assuredly isn’t for the following three reasons:
First, you are sacrificing the lower life to gain the higher life. If you want to save your natural life (i.e., find your identity and sense of worth in positions, titles, accomplishments, and possessions, and seek only worldly well-being), you will lose it. You may have some of it for a time, but not for eternity. Furthermore, efforts to possess temporal blessing, takes away what you could have in Christ. If you shoot for this world, that is all you will get and only for a short time. Shoot for the next world and you get it plus the benefits of knowing Christ now.
Second, you are sacrificing the pleasure of things to gain the pleasures of life. What would you accept in trade for the fruit of the Spirit in your life? What material possession, what amount of money, what man-made position or title would you exchange for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Believing that temporal possessions will give us love, joy, peace, etc. is the fool’s lie. For some deceptive reason we strive to be happy as animals instead of being blessed as children of God.
Third, you are sacrificing the temporal to gain the eternal. One of the great signs of spiritual maturity is the ability to postpone rewards. Look at the example of Moses. “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” (Heb. 11:25,26). There may be some hardships in following Christ, but “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:16,17). Making Jesus the Lord of your life also makes Him the Lord of your problems. Heaven is where we say to God, “Thy will be done.” Hell is where God says to us, “Thy will be done.”
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