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Carrying one's own cross

Started by AudioArtist, March 07, 2011, 02:04:43 pm

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AudioArtist

Jesus said to His followers during His ministry on earth, "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake, shall find it." Matt. 10:38,39.

Jesus said, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it." Matt. 16:24,25.

And He (Jesus) was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." Luke 9:23.

Jesus said, "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." Luke 14:27.

What does "taking up your cross daily" mean to people on this forum? I'd really like some perspective on these verses. I've read that this "cross" has to do with sickness, life problems, bad situations and so on - but looking at the "cross" like this doesn't sit right with my spirit or make sense in light of Jesus' other statements about faith and asking and receiving (or the idea, clearly taught in Scripture, that we can cast all our cares upon God.) I believe that this cross and the idea of "denying oneself" has to do with putting the flesh to death and walking daily in the Spirit, but my understanding of this potential revelation is not yet fully formed.

What are your thoughts? :) Am I on track?

DiscipleHeLovesToo

I don't really know; I was asking God about that a few nights ago, but I haven't received His answer yet - at least that I'm aware of.

Like you, I believe He is saying that we have to be willing to trust Him more than our own judgment or experience, and that we have to be willing to suffer persecution for His sake as a result of our spoken belief in His goodness. 

I do not believe that sickness is part of persecution, for by His stripes we were healed - this is something He's already done, a gift He's already given (and His gifts are without change) - but like spiritual rebirth, it's something that we have to receive by faith in His goodness based on His word - it's not something automatic; He's given, but we must receive by faith or do without.

I think He's illustrating that faith can't be conditional.  In other words, if I see in His word that He's already released the power to heal me, and when symptoms of sickness come and linger I begin to question His word, I am not in faith - I'm in desire.  But if I set my will like flint so that even if I die of sickness, my last breath will be spent affirming that He's released the power to heal me - that He's not the holdup - then that's faith.

True faith knows no time limit; has no conditions outside of His Holy Spirit revealed word; sees no other option than the fulfillment of the promise that faith is based on.

GLYB!!!
Joh 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Child of JC

March 07, 2011, 06:12:53 pm #2 Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 07:15:49 pm by Child of JC
Jesus choose the Cross. Jesus choose to do what was best for us, even though it was not what was best for Him. He put our lives ahead of His own life. He lost His life for us.

Love is what marks the Christian. So, I think "take up your cross" means to choose to live for others. Do what's best for others, even if it's not what is best for you. Live our lives seeking to give it to whom ever needs it.  Forgiveness is a "take up your cross" act. Forgiveness takes the one who feels they are owed something to forfeit it, to cancel the debt. They put that person ahead of themselves.

If we have a revelation of what Jesus did for us, shouldn't we be compelled to show the same mercy, love, forgiveness, to others?

And it's relevant for the first commandment too. Put Jesus' wants ahead of our own. That's why it's said that those who love Him will obey Him. Obedience is putting His will ahead of our own.

Joh 15:13 The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends.

Gal 5:14 All of Moses' Teachings are summarized in a single statement, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."

1Jn 4:20 Whoever says, "I love God," but hates another believer is a liar. People who don't love other believers, whom they have seen, can't love God, whom they have not seen.



♥ Created to Love and be Loved ♥

Child of JC

Here's a testimony that I came across this morning, found here:
http://www.theporneffect.com/the-revolution/victory-stories/321-josh-cullen
A good testimony of one "carrying his cross" I think.

Josh's Victory Story
Written by Josh Cullen   
Wednesday, 05 January 2011

My name is Josh Cullen. I was born, raised, and still live in southeast Louisiana. I grew up in a very Catholic home thus granting me the title of "Cradle Catholic". I'm now 29 years old, have been married for seven years to the woman whom I called my best friend, and I'm the father of four beautiful children; three girls and one boy. This is my story.

My wife of five and a half years and mother of our three children at the time had reached the point of critical mass in our relationship. She made it absolutely clear that if I didn't get serious about my problem with pornography and begin taking the necessary steps to remove it from my life, that we were done.

It would only be natural to think that she'd just had enough of being hurt and betrayed by me. But I already knew that was true and continued to fall in spite of that knowledge. Instead it was the reason behind her ultimatum that snatched me up and threw me head long into reality so fast that I think my conscience broke the sound barrier. I can still hear the words she said to me on that day, "I will do whatever I have to in order to protect my children."..."I feel like I need to protect them from what you might become."

The feeling that ran through me at that moment is hard to explain. It was like the feeling that runs through your body when someone sneaks up behind you while you're day-dreaming and puts their hand down the back of your shirt after just coming inside when it's really cold out. Her words still resonate within me and still stop me dead in my tracks when I think back on them; not because they were hurtful or said out of spite, but because they were rock hard, uncontestable truth. The truth that I am called to be the protector of my family also played a significant part in all this. What father would not do all he could to protect his children? I am of the same mind set but found that it was necessary to protect my children from the possibility of a dark and terrifying future; one which I could be the cause of.

It was at that moment that I had to come to grips with the reality that if something didn't change, if I didn't change, there was nothing to say that I wouldn't end up one day sexually abusing my own or other children. There was nothing to say that I wouldn't end up sliding down the slippery slopes of consuming porn straight into the downward spiral of consuming child porn which usually leads straight to the path of acting out warped sexual appetites as a child predator...I could have become the cause of one or more future Amber Alerts.

So I was left with two choices at that point; life with or life without porn. Faced with the unacceptable possibility of a future of predation, I drew the battle lines of my heart and soul. It was on that day that a great war ensued within me and at times I've felt like I was doing battle with all the armies of hell. I look back at that day and say that THAT was the day I became a man. I say that because it was the day that I promised my wife and children that I would go to whatever end in search of freedom from my slavery; it was the day I started learning to forsake myself for those who loved me.

It's important to note that when I made my promise, I told my wife that I wanted to change, to be a better man for her and our children. Wisdom once again flowed forth from her. (There's a reason why, biblically speaking, that wisdom is referred to in the feminine.) She said to me, "You can't do this for me or for the kids. You have to do this for yourself first. You have to want this for yourself before you can want this for us. If you can't do it for you, how can you do it for anyone else?" In other words, I couldn't give what I didn't have. I praise God for the wisdom of my wife and for her courage to never simply "accept the way that I was". You'll never hear her utter phrases like "Well you know how guys are." or "That's just the way men are." She was always right there to issue a challenge to me to be a better man. Some might view that as a whole lot of fighting between spouses...all I see is the ardent and unwavering love my wife had for me.

Thus so began the journey of this man to a life of freedom from the slavery of pornography. I was 26 at the time.

But I would be remiss in my duties as a man if didn't attempt to also share the effects of the fallout of who I had become. I ended up bringing a lot of misery into my marriage without even realizing it. I destroyed the love between my wife and myself. I destroyed her ability to love or even trust me. She had lost her self-worth and it was because I had obliterated it. My wife has had to endure my brokenness for more than seven years now.

But there is light in this darkness...because of our trials and because of what we endured together, and were through the mercy of God victorious over, the relationship between my wife and I has blossomed anew. Ask either one of us to describe our relationship now and we'll both tell you that this is a real spring time in our marriage.

I've found a great amount of healing in my brokenness because of my renewed relationship with our Heavenly Father and through continual use the Catholic sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist (I'd still be lost without these two). I have come a long way from the days of being a sexual usurper. It was by the grace of God and through my involvement with a catholic men's apostolate called The King's Men that, about a year and a half ago, I was able to experience my first taste of true freedom from my pornography addiction since I started consuming porn over 14 years ago. While I still struggle at times, I am forever victorious in the mercy of my heavenly Father.
♥ Created to Love and be Loved ♥

DianeL

As I was reading the book "Shift!" authors Ken and Jeanne Harrington, this statement really caught my eye.

On page 300

Go Ahead! Get "out of your mind" and into your spirit where God dwells.

He loves you and has been waiting for you to join Him in His realm of glory.

Jesus showed us the way and invites us to pick up our cross and follow Him through the veil (see Heb. 6:19-20)

It's like a light clicked on for me. Getting away from the doom and gloom of the religious picking up of your cross to the hope through Jesus who has overcome all things

It's supernatural, denying my flesh on my own does not produce holiness, bearing my own cross is religious.


34
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13

JohnDB

Lets see if I can add a little something to this discussion. :2cents:


Execution in the ANE was a common occurrence. People were executed regularly. Most received the old sword in their heart or abdomen or their heads chopped off with a sword. It was considered by the Romans to be a "good death" (mostly)...although suicide was a better death.


But...for a few of the most criminals...those that were the serial rapists...the thieves who wouldn't learn not to steal...the treasonous traitors who were subversive to the Roman empire...they were handed over to be crucified.


Crucifixion was all about humiliation. First you had to drag your cross with you to the most public location in the town you were in. (outside of Jerusalem there was a cross roads section known as "the place of the skull" (Currently there is a bus station there today for a good reason) during this "walk of shame" people would spit at you and hurl insults at you because you were such a bad person as you had to be crucified to begin with.


Then...you were stripped of all clothing. You hung naked...sometimes this lasted for days. So everyone could see how little of a penis you had or could see your fat belly or some other embarrassing physical attribute you had. Some were up there for days so that if someone had committed a crime you felt specially angry at you could throw stones at them while they hung there.


Sooooo....


When Jesus talks about "Take up your cross" he means do whatever it takes to save others especially if it means your humiliation. Do not be hung up on self-engrandizement   or pride to build yourself on a pedestal...IOW it is ok for you to feel embarrassed...in fact for a "Jesus follower" it is kinda mandatory. Because it isn't about a general humility....it is about what embarrasses you the most....after all it is YOUR cross...not mine and not someone else's.
I wanna die like grandpa, peacefully and in his sleep. Not like the passengers in his car...they were all screaming and panicking.

pastorzzub

Your cross is not a long drawn out suffering.  It is a device with one purpose: to murder you.  Carrying your cross is choosing His will over your fleshly desires.

JohnDB

Ok Pastor Z.

We differ in opinion.
No biggie.

I simply believe that God gave me life so that I could live & granted me salvation so I could live more abundantly than ever before.
Not that salvation is an invitation or license to sin. To me, I gotta lose to win & win big.
I wanna die like grandpa, peacefully and in his sleep. Not like the passengers in his car...they were all screaming and panicking.

pastorzzub

Not sure how we differ in opinion.  I believe that He gave His life so we could have abundant life.  I believe however that to appreciate abundant life we need to give up our life.  He who loves his life will lose it, he who hates his life will gain it.

For example, you get up on a Sunday morning and your flesh would rather eat coco pops and watch Jeremy Kyle.  If you love that low life, you will lose out on the high life.  If you hate your low life, force yourself to get up and go to church then you will enjoy a wonderful time of worship and a powerful message (assuming you go to a proper church).

Blessings,
Ben

The Lord is my banner

But...isn't the carrying of one's cross a one-time event? 


If it's going to bring your death then surely it can only happen once, then it becomes obsolete... because it doesn't need to, indeed cannot, kill you over and over again.


I died already, and now Christ lives in me.

(Gal. 2:20)


I was touched as I re-read that scripture just now - I was with Jesus when it happened - I didn't die alone.



The Lord is my banner





Oops, forgot to post the verse...


"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."


Supplanter

Luke 9:23 (New International Version, ©2011)

23 Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.


Most versions seem to render this scripture with the daily. Haven't looked a great detail to see if there is any variance nor do I wish to base something on one word, but we have to take the whole of scriupture into account and it does suggest that we are to be continually denying ourselves and taking up our crosses, that is a process and not a one time deal.

The Lord is my banner

Agreed, Jesus did say that to those following Him before He went to the cross.


After Jesus died on the cross and rose to life, taking us with Him, would He really tell believers after that event that they/we must keep on carrying the cross?


pastorzzub

I believe what you say Sue with a passion.  We HAVE BEEN crucified with Christ as a past tense event.  My selfish sinful self died on the cross and now I am born again with a righteous, pure, loving, joyous, peaceful spirit.

However, I still face temptations to walk in the old ways.  To walk in sin, selfishness, unrighteousness.  To worry about something.  To get angry, to get lustful, whatever.  At those times, I have to choose to live out of my spirit and walk in the Spirit rather than walk in the flesh.  To me this is what Jesus is talking about - not so much carrying pain and suffering, but carrying around a continual memory of the truth that I am righteous and pure and I should walk according to who I really am.

Hope this makes sense,

Blessings,
Ben

The Lord is my banner

Yes, that does make sense.  I'd modify one little, (or not so little?) thing... I have developed a personal distaste for the word, "should".


It can tend to carry guilt and condemnation with it, and doesn't necessarily bring forth good fruit. 
The way I would express what I think you're saying is that  we remember to remind ourselves whose we are and who we really are, and then there will be a progression toward living in that truth.


Probably splitting hairs, but it's that word, it bugs me lol!


pastorzzub

The last thing I want to do is choose a word that bugs you! Sorry!

Supplanter

I'm sorry but I don't see any indication in the context of scripture that Jesus is referring to carrying your cross only before he is crucified and dies.

From Luke 9

Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah
18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?"
19 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life."

   20 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

   Peter answered, "God's Messiah."

Jesus Predicts His Death
21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."
23 Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

   27 "Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."


The disciples did not suffer before the Crucifixion of Christ. They did not give up their lives until after he was dead and rose again. In the scripture, the identification of Jesus as the Messiah appears to directly correspond with what Jesus would suffer and so that we will by following Him be signing up for the same thing. I'm sorry but just as much as God blesses and provides abundance, we also have a fellowship of suffering with Him. And if we refuse to follow Him into the path of suffering then we are not truly His, just as if we refuse to follow Him in the fellowship of joy because there is joy in salvation and there is joy in love. There is more than one aspect to belonging to Jesus. If we refuse to take in all those aspects and live accordingly by following Him where He leads whether it be suffering or another aspect then we have not fully given ourselves over to God.

Being a Christian is joyful because of our intimacy with Christ and one another, but all the world has for us is a cross to bear and with it suffering. They hated Christ, called Him Satan, how much more will they do to His disciples.

The Lord is my banner

Quote from: pastorzzub on May 06, 2011, 07:30:50 am
The last thing I want to do is choose a word that bugs you! Sorry!



Not to worry. :)
  Try harder next time!  ;)


pastorzzub

I was thinking about it today.  When I tell my five year old she should not run into the road, I mean because I will discipline her if she doesn't.  It's a negative word.

But talking to adults, "should" is about what unlocks the best, not about me about to get someone if they don't do what they "should". 

It comes back to the fact that so many ministers talk to people like children, not adults I think.

JohnDB

May 06, 2011, 03:12:59 pm #19 Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 03:24:03 pm by JohnDB
Carrying a cross is to be all about humility.

The best & brightest of Israel's religious sector had deemed Jesus as not relevant. As a result Jesus had few followers. In fact He was the least of the many "messiahs" of his time period. Many of the others had tens of thousands following them. (They were also purported to have accomplished miracles) 

Jesus is the Agent of creation according to both John & Paul. He deserved to walk in & be served all glory & honor. He has the power & wisdom to make it happen too. BUT He didn't. Instead He took a very humble position barely sufficient to get his message out. That's humility enough but He went further than that. To be relegated to the "unimportant" class so that he would be tried & convicted to die the most humiliating fashion possible?  THAT is humility.

So when the Apostles "Followed" or were disciples they were all consumed with being the most important disciple...(remember the story about the mom who asked for her boys to sit at his right hand?)
It was Peter according to Mark that got to carry the Staff (a symbol of leadership). And Peter was the leader of the Apostles. A common misconception was that Peter was in charge of the Church too...Nothing could be further from the truth. James, Jesus' half brother was in charge of the Church in Jerusalem...and Jerusalem only.

None of the Apostles sought to be leaders...in fact just the opposite. Even to this day missionaries from America are rather low class (by treatment) when compared to Preachers in our local congregations. They aren't given huge salaries. They don't live in fine homes or drive nice cars. Their lectures are often relegated to Sunday or Wednesday nights instead of Sunday mornings...and if they are mentioned during Sunday mornings it is often short and brief and barely a mention at all.
I wanna die like grandpa, peacefully and in his sleep. Not like the passengers in his car...they were all screaming and panicking.