So what’s the deal with “The Cross?”
I am assuming if you’re reading this post, you are already somewhat familiar with the Easter story, Jesus dying on “The Cross” and rising again Sunday morning! Jesus paid the price for our sin – and (spoiler alert: here comes a big but really important word) justified us, once for all, if we accept what Jesus did for us as the penalty for our sin, and give our lives now to Him as a THANK YOU for what He did for us!
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So we hear about The Cross when it comes to how people are JUSTIFIED
But Jesus spoke many times about the Cross in the lives of his followers for another purpose – Jesus said if we wanted to be his disciple, we had to carry OUR cross daily and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24-26)
‘Our Cross? I thought there was only 1 Cross!
To “Carry the Cross of Christ” means basically to follow him in obedience and put to death our own desires, plans and destinations.
Carrying Our Cross has some incredible side benefits for the Believer; namely – it makes us more like Him. (Spoiler Alert: here comes another big important word!) Sanctification or “holiness.” When we Carry OUR CROSS… that process makes us better disciples. It SANCTIFIES US! (It makes us HOLY)
SANCTIFICATION is an ongoing process that never really ends this side of heaven.
JUSTIFICATION is a one-time event; that is complete the moment we are born-again into His family.
It is important to keep these two HUGE CONCEPTS as stated above. Big problems occur when we start thinking JUSTFICATION is a process and SANCTIFICATION is a one-time event.
One of the keys to succesful Christian maturity and growth is to allow God to give us an increased desire of our Spirit nature to love the Lord with all our heart, strength, mind, soul and to love our neighbor. Thus the counter intuitive weakening of our flesh nature.
That flesh nature, we could propose, is the same nature responsible for all the horrible sexual crimes perpetrated on the millions of victims throughout mankind. That same flesh nature is no less guilty of all the scandals and adultery found in Christianity throughout the centuries.
The Wrong-Name Blame Game
It is therefore a complete lack of this factual reality to blame the sins of men and women leaders in the church who choose not to carry the Cross daily, on “Christianity” or “Jesus Christ”.
Christians who turn from the seemingly reprehensible Cross as it presents itself to them as a glorious option each moment of struggle and temptation also thereby fail to use its most powerful weapon of holiness and sanctification.
The result is often public scandal, broken families, shattered hearts, betrayed Christian brothers and sisters – and likely the worst consequence – a dismayed and disillusioned turning from interest in Christianity from those who were seeking for answers to their eternal questions.
Let every potential leader understand there are only two paths for you to take.
And take it from one who has been in the heart of churchianity in America for over 20 years as a full time minister on over 12 Christian organizational staffs… if you don’t intend to pick up your Cross daily in your personal journey as a Christian leader, minister – then do all of us a favor and please do Jesus and The hosts of heaven a favor and get out of the only pure eternally effective thing that is the real answer to the problems of this world.
Didn’t Jesus say it would be better to have never been born than to make one of these little ones stumble?
Think about the Cross. Pray. Go into the wilderness for as long as you need and don’t come back to lead in Christ’s Kingdom until your broken and willing to grab that THANG and let it do it’s work of sanctification and holiness in you!
Your about to experience temptations and desires that you never knew existed for you. The devil will serve the whole tempting buffet to you when you get in charge. What will you do then? I’ll tell you. You will do then what you’re doing today.
Carry the Cross of Christ as his disciple today –
and when those unbelievably powerful temptations come later, it won’t be easy, but you’ll Carry that Cross then, and save your marriage, and prioritize your kids, and choose to say “No” to potentially worldly fame, yet simultaneously get a standing ovation from the hosts of heaven in the great heavenly stadium – cheering YOU ON!
Choose you this day, Christian, Christian Leader, whom you will serve and when you are satisfied with getting rewarded.
You may turn back a generation who have almost totally turned away from the message of Christ because of the offenses of those who have set aside the Cross and chosen to satisfy the growing fleshly impulses of their sin nature, and allowed the progression of lust to lead them into bondage and deviance and abuse.
The daily carrying of the Cross is so uncool in the present church subculture.
Who is willing to embrace it?