THE CROSS !! YOUR CROSS !!!
Text : Mark 10 : 17 – 23
….v20 , And he answered and said to Him , ” Teacher , all these things I have kept from my youth ” . v21 , Then Jesus , looking at him , loved him , and said to him , ” One thing you lack : Go your way , sell whatever you have and give to the poor , and you will have treasure in heaven ; and come , take up the cross , and follow me .”
We do not go very far along life’s way until we meet life’s Crosses . They are varied and life itself . For some , the cross may be a physical handicap , a sickness which baffles the skills physicians ; it may be a deep sorrow , Separation from a loved one , a sense of loneliness ; it may be very unavoidable circumstances in which we find ourselves ; or perhaps it is a duty that binds is to a place that is worrisome to us and hinders us from carrying out some life ambition ; perhaps it is financial loss or financial limitation ( alias Poverty ) , or nearness to persons who misunderstands and irritate us ; it may be the waywardness or the suffering of one we love ; perhaps it is a severe trial , a trying task , a bitter memory , a hunting fear ; possibly it …
Many of them are the result of broken laws of someone , somewhere ; but after they come , after we have done all in our power to change things , and life’s Crosses still confronts us , then may deem that God has permitted them in order that some great good may be worked out in our lives ( creating good from a bad situation ) : God does not make mistakes . We do .
The circumstances of life change with rapid swiftness . They arrange themselves according to the law of cause and effect , overruled by divine live and wisdom . If every trying circumstance , it may be said , ” This , too , will pass ” .
The soul qualities gained from the experience abide . Thus the crosses of life become , not handicaps , nor weights ( disadvantages ) , but opportunities to learn life’s lessons , to grow needed Graces of Characters ; I e. Spiritual developments which ofcourse , require Experience .
– Experience is the best teacher …, Practice makes perfect , they say . Many variables develop likeness of divine Character . But like our physical and mental abilities , our spiritual abilities will not develop without training ( Exercise ) . Circumstances must occur in our lives which require the application of integrity , forgiveness , long-suffering , Patience , ets . All of these are fruits of the Spirit as enumerated in Galatians 5 : 22 – 24 .
For example , in order to practice forgiveness , we need situations where people have sinned against us that we may exercise forgiveness ;
Patience requires irritating circumstances ; Endurance / Persiverance / Long-suffering require long- term problems ( like illness , poverty , etc . ) to acquire ; Compassion requires exposure to the problems if others , The same is true of other virtues ( fruits of the Spirit ) .
The first temptation when we meet life’s Crosses , is to run away from them . In reality we never do so . They face us again and again down life’s road until we master them .. Jesus faced this temptation to run away from the cross . Had he yielded to it , had he come down from the cross as his enemies challenged him to do the world would never have known resurrection hope and Joy , He could never have been the Saviour of the world .
It was when Jesus was assured that the cross had its place in God’s plan that he knew that he was stronger than the stroke of the cross . And so it is , when we see in our life’s Crosses the working out of a higher plan than our own , that we no longer seek to run away from them , but are brave to endure .
The next temptation is to carry our crosses , but not to carry them complainingly , or with Self- pity , or the air of a martyr , all the time resentful ( angry or upset ) of the burden we feel God has placed upon us . ” Why should this happen to me ? we ask , and often times in the very midst of our crucifixion we cry out thst God has forsaken us in our time of greatest need. But there is no new cross . The cross we are now bearing has been bravely borne by others before us , is even now being borne by someone else , somewhere , and will be borne again by others yet to come ( see 1 Cor. 10 : 13 )
To grow bitter of heart , to complain and murmur about the hard things of life , is in reality to rebel against a loving Father and His efforts to help us , and thus miss the hidden lesson that life’s Crosses have to teach us ( see Hebrews 12 : 5- 11 ; 2 Corinthians 1 : 4-7 ; James 1 : 2, 3 ….)
Then there is a third way in which to meet life’s Crosses _ the Christ’s way . We may see our crosses as part of divine plan , and use them to crucify self upon them _ ” For the joy set before him ( Jesus ) he endured the cross , despising the shame ” . We too may endure the cross …..
There is comfort too in the assurance that as we bear our cross with understanding and trust and courage , in ways past understanding , we will silently and even unconsciously communicate courage to others in their time of need .
When we face our own cross , and in our own garden of Gethsemane realize that the cup cannot pass from us , when we say : ” Father , not our will , but thine be done ” , it is then that life’s Crosses becomes a means of ascent and power .
Every cross bravely met is preceded by the garden experience . Jesus went forth without hesitating to the cross , once he was sure it had its place in the Divine plan . He bids each of us to take up his cross daily , and follow him .
If we understand all , and could see these crosses as part of the plan as God sees them , we would not want to run away from them ; we would welcome them , seeing in them our opportunity to grow character , to learn needed lessons , to prepare ourselves better to fill our places of service in the the world’s tasks , to bring the whole life into harmony with the Divine .
To believe with all the heart in a loving Father , in His beautiful plan , in His loving care over us , is the key to enduring our crosses .
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