TAKING UP THE CROSS
"And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me, is not worthy of Me."
Taking up the cross means total commitment. Totally committed to Christ is the giving up of one's self, to live for His purposes and not one's own.
Personal dedication must be whole-hearted and is to be applied to people and service, by time and work given over to God. All things to be done in God's Name for His Will.
Total commitment is death to self, to ego, and sacrifice of the will to Jesus, a crucifixion of worldly desires and demands.
Jesus had total commitment for His mission to the Cross, giving up financial security, personal defence, physical safety, earthly status, family relationships, personal agendas and even life itself.
The rewards promised are great, the meeting of personal needs, God's eternal protection, value in the eyes of The Father, citizenship in God's family in the Kingdom of God, a role in His agenda, and Eternal Life.
Jesus clearly taught self-denial of one's own will for the will of God as a prerequisite for following Him. He demonstrated a servant-hood and manner necessary for discipleship.
Believers are to become Christ like. This is not achieved by people trying to imitate Jesus, but God fashioning them in sanctification by The Holy Spirit. It is The Holy Spirit who causes disciples to conform to the image of Christ, which is the aim of discipleship.
To be like Christ is a total commitment to the Will of God, in selflessness, humility and service, having a love and compassion for others, always ready to forgive others. It is also sharing Christ's mission to the world.
Commitment to God arises from belief in His promises and this is expressed in worship and obedience to His commands. It is a dependence on God for physical help and needs, as well as spiritual. Dependence is expressed in prayer.
Dictionary meaning of Total Commitment-constituting or comprising the whole; entire; the total, having to do with the whole of something: complete in extent or degree; absolute that to which one has committed oneself; a pledge and consignment.
Commitment is a concern for truth and justice, shunning obscene practises. Commitment is required for effective witness and lead to a future hope, the reality of seeing God, for a believer's destiny is to share with God in His presence forever.
Jesus Christ enabled believers to grow and mature for their purification and atonement that came by His Obedient sacrifice for their sake.
Human response to commitment is repentance and humility. The Bible stresses the privileges and responsibilities of being a totally committed servant of God, Jesus Christ being the ultimate model of servanthood and commitment.
God promises continual support for His people, particularly when they become weary or even disillusioned. God's encouragement is affirmed in His Word, and by experiences of The Holy Spirit, who is both counsellor and guide. Encouragement can also come through the actions of others. Prayer for encouragement help the effects of fatigue, and a downcast disposition is broken by joy of The Holy Spirit and giving thanks to God.
The enlightenment of the believer's mind by the Word of God leads to increased worship and pleasure of Him. It is God-given understanding and insight of Himself and Christ.
God does not require tasks to be done without Him providing the gifts needed to equip believers, both physical and spiritual. Believers are equipped for both physical and spiritual task by the empowering of The Holy Spirit and by The Word of God.
The people of God are called upon to lead lives worthy of their calling. Totally committed believers are set apart for God, and are members of God's Covenant people. They have responsibility to one another and a spiritual union with Jesus Christ.
Dedicated Christians are to cease in making themselves the object of their life and actions for the sake of Christ. God cares for those who are committed to Him and He rewards them.
Committed Christians may be persecuted as well as being precious in the sight of God. They enjoy God's protection and will experience exaltation.
Christ must come first in priorities of a Christian's life even to be willing to face martyrdom.
Matthew 16:24 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
In times of great persecution the physical loss of one's life is insignificant when compared to gaining everlasting life with Jesus. A physical life might be saved, but eternal life will be lost.
Jesus' disciples can expect the same response from the world that He received.
Jesus challenges believers to put themselves under God's authority, being willing to do things His way, whole-heatedly.
Jesus illustrated genuine greatness in His own life as He served others as an example. He assumed the humble role of a lowly servant and self-sacrifice which inspires believers to stir up The Holy Spirit's gifts inside them and obey God's Word.
Leadership and servanthood are of the same value, one does not differ from the other, and are equivalent in meaning, expressing and implying the same idea.
The fulfilment of God's promises are related to the response of His people, who are invited to receive them, forgiveness, answered prayer, eternal life, guidance, comfort, protection etc. God is trustworthy to deliver.
Though the world is fallen, God still loves His Creation and is Himself committed to it. Believers are called upon to be in the world but not of it. Any commitment to this world's system should be avoided because it is headed for destruction. Preoccupation with the things of this world is incompatible with living lives set apart for God.
Commitment is a choice. This choice is for all believers. Jesus points this choice of devoted and total commitment to those who claim to want to be His followers.
A pattern of self-denial and service with reward is found in The Book of 1Corinthians, Chapter 9, written by Paul, The Apostle.
Taking up the cross does not mean a person has a burdensome oppression to constantly tackle, it is daily dying to the self issues, self-aspiration, self pride and wanting what God desires.
Matthew 10:38 is a quotation in The Bible that has been extremely misunderstood by a large number of people.
|SCRIPTURES Matthew 10:38,39, 16:24,25, Mark 8:34,35, Luke 14:27.
QUESTIONS 1] What does taking up your cross mean? 2] How is total commitment achieved? 3] In what way does the love of God effect us? 4] Why is total commitment necessary?
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