Monday, February 11, 2008

Carrying the Charismatic Cross

What is the cost to carry the cross and what are the promises that come with the job? Our answer to this question will dictate the direction the Church is going towards from this point on. What kind of life did Jesus (or Yeshua to you purist) promise us when He asked us to lay down our life, pick up our cross, and follow Him? What did He intend? Was He talking about one of those gold crosses we wear around our necks? Was it a cool tattoo on our arm? Or was it one of those, the evangelist (of whom I have a deep respect for) carry over their shoulders with a wheel on the end of it? Do we pick out the color we want? Would we want the latest and coolest looking cross we could find? Would we want the model that doesn't offend others around us? Would we want the best cross money could buy maybe with one of those fish emblems on it? Or maybe we would get one that was sure to hold the extra weight we've been carrying. I'm sure we would like a model that causes no pain or discomfort. Perhaps something light without burden that we could dance with and it wouldn't look stupid to others. Do we proudly carry it or do we carry it with humility and grace? Maybe we would like one of those we could use as a weapon against others to put them in their place. What have we as the Church reduced the cross to? Do we design it ourselves, or was it designed for us? What did the cross do to Christ? Do we think that the work of the cross does less for us? Have you ever considered these questions? Are these questions worth considering? Are we trying to carry a cross that promises comfort, riches, and the 'American Dream'? What does the cross promise? What does it look like? To the proud it appears to be spiritual weakness. To the intellectual it may appear to be insanity. To the wicked it may look like the time for them to attack.

What I do know is there is one that is designed especially for all of us. It's uniquely designed with you in mind. Specially crafted to slay an old nature we say we don't want. Paul carried his cross to the end. He was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned, and ultimately martyred. Yet through all those things he said he was more than a conquerer and penned the majority of the New Testiment turning the world upside down from behind prison walls!

The one thing I know that the cross produces is death. It produces the death of a carnal nature, that we chose to, and promised to leave when we were born again. Over and over I have had to choose whether or not I would stay on it or not. When some injustice happens that hurts or angers, I'm faced with the choice to stay up on it or come down. When temptation comes I have the same choice to make. Those are just a couple of ways it can look. To Paul it was being beaten and left for dead, imprisonment, abandonment, and finally the laying down of his life.

There is absolutely no way to escape the work of the cross for the Christian. The process was designed for us and is full of purpose. The cross did not stop Paul from accomplishing his destiny nor did it stop the destiny of Christ, rather it was part of the fulfilling of their destiny. It's designed to be this for us. Scripture distinctly declares that with blessing there WILL BE persecution!

Keith Green once said that Christians would like a posturpedic cross! So many of us are asleep right now because we've picked up another cross that comes with the promise of earthly gain and comfort. It comes from poisoned doctrine that flows from pulpits all over this land. Don't get me wrong, I want to prosper and be in health, and I believe God wants us all to, but not at the expense of laying down the cross that was designed for us. Did God want Paul to prosper and be in health? Did He want Stephen to be in health? Were they less spiritual because they suffered? We are told to be like Jesus. Did He suffer the cross? If we saw one of our leading ministers today suffering some public humiliation we would immediately assume something must be wrong with the individual. That's because we've swallowed the poison of the enemy. Paul declared that everybody but one guy left him. Jesus was abandoned by his diciples for a moment because of the fear of humiliation by association.

Paul said follow me follow Christ. Did he suffer the sufferings of Christ? Am I suggesting that you go look for a way that you too can suffer like the great ones of old? NO! A million times no. I can assure you if you choose to burn with passion for Christ, you won't have to look for your cross, it will find you!

Daily when we are following after Gods heart, we are experiencing the death, burial, and resurrection simultaneously! By death, I mean crucifying of our fleshly carnal nature. By burial, I mean reckoning ourselves dead to our sinful nature. By resurrection I mean living in the new creature, our divine nature born of God!

We should never be ashamed of our cross nor proud of it. We should only be ashamed if we are unwilling to carry it. The work of the cross is absolutely instrumental for revealing life in us and through us. Scripture says that Jesus learned obedience through His sufferings and He carried His cross long before He was crucified on it.

The cross is designed to drive us to our knees (wrestling in prayer) only to stand back up totally empowered with the flames of passion for our Lord and the clear understanding of the joy on the other side of it. The cross is not something to escape, rather it is something to be embraced! You can not see this with your natural eyes. You must look with the eyes of your spirit. His endurance of the cross was His love towards us. Our endurance of the cross is the working of our love to others. The world can not understand this incredible working of His love.

Well there it lies before you, will you pick it up? It is the doorway to your destiny. If you want to see something radical happen in you, your local church, and city? Then pick up your cross and follow Him!


Anonymous Robert McKinnon said...

Good Blog!

12:52 PM  

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