Our Personal Cross

In our modern gospel churches, Christians have decided where to put the cross.  They have made the cross objective instead of subjective.  They have made the cross external instead of internal.  They have made it institutional instead of experiential.  …But here is where they are wrong:  They fail to see that there is a very real cross for you and me. 

 

There is a cross for every one of us – a cross that is subjective, internal, experiential.  … It is a cross we voluntarily take, and it is hard, bitter, distasteful.  But we take our cross for Christ’s sake, and we are willing to suffer the consequences and despise the shame…   (A.W. Tozer, Jesus, Author of our Faith, ppg 82-83)

I’ve been wanting to talk about what I read in Tozer.  He’s an incredible read, I’ll tell ya.  I have a two-volume set of his writings by topic, and I’m just going thru front to back.  They’re short – no longer than a few paragraphs each, and I can pop off a few each time I nurse Isaac.

And this was what I read yesterday.  Talk about being just what I needed to hear.  I was tired of the fight.  I had recieved a comment only days ago that really bothered me – it said that I was a good teacher, so I should stick to informational blogs and not address people’s actions.  And 2 Timothy 4:2 leapt into my head – Preach the Word: be constant in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke and exhort, all in long-suffering and sound doctrine.  I am told to rebuke and reprove actions that are not Biblical.  To tell me not to is to go against scripture.  Needless to say, I lost a reader over it – because she felt ‘controversy wasn’t productive’.   ((Thank heavens Paul and Christ and John and Timothy and the other apostolic fathers didn’t feel that way.  They died for the controversy their faith stirred.  Controversy followed them from town to town, from prison to death.))

There is a cross for every one of us – a cross that is subjective, internal, experiential.  … It is a cross we voluntarily take, and it is hard, bitter, distasteful.  But we take our cross for Christ’s sake, and we are willing to suffer the consequences and despise the shame…  

Claiming the cross and carrying it are two very different things.  There are millions who make crosses on their chests, millions who have crosses on their Bibles, who put them on their sites and wear them around their necks… but when it comes down to the truth of it, the cross Christ asks them to carry is too painful, too controversial, too heavy, too taxing.  A warm-fuzzy faith is far more appealing – one that expounds on love and peace, one that doesn’t stir the waters and yet bonds these soft people together.  But it isn’t what scripture calls us to.

We are to fight the good fight.  To run the race.  To put on the armor.  To preach the Word.  To take up OUR cross and follow Him.  These are not things found among people who turn away from the ‘hard, bitter, and distasteful’ cross.  Their crosses aren’t real.

I was tired of the fight.  I am hammered here all of the time, and mostly by Christians.  I drafted a blog about that very thing – the difference between rebuking a wrong teaching or action and tearing at a person’s character.  90% of the comments I get are character shredders, because I touch a raw nerve and people feel the need to retaliate (which is telling, isn’t it?).

But Jesus never said my cross would be easy.  And when I signed on, I knew that I would get hammered.  I knew people would hate me.  Jesus said you will be hated because they hate Me.  And it’s true.  ((I’m sure half dozen Christians just got up in arms, because I said that about them.  It isn’t about them – they are responsible for themselves.  I’m responsible for me.))  Hated or no.  Tired or no.  Hammered or no.

It’s easy to watch The Passion and pity Christ for His sufferings… but how many people realize they are supposed to be suffering for His sake, too?  Carrying a cross just like His?  How many people put themselves there and realize their real job?  It’s easier to let Jesus carry the cross and just watch it from a theatre seat.  To claim to follow Him, but do it on our terms: controversy-less and cross-less.

It was good to take a break yesterday.  I learned a lot.  I had a great conversation with a gal about spiritual battle wounds.  I did some therapeutic reading.  Had some one-on-one with the Father.  ((the second half of II Samuel is totally undecipherable.))  I caught my breath, and am ready to press on towards the mark of the high calling.  With my cross in tow.

But we take our cross for Christ’s sake… willing to suffer the consequences and despise the shame…

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