Saturday, April 25, 2009

Step Two: Taking Up Your Cross Daily - a.k.a "Embracing Defeat"

To conclude my previous post on Luke 9:23 I included the following quote by G. K. Chesterton.

“The cross cannot be defeated for it is defeat.”

This is where I will begin today’s entry. Considering I have already tackled one aspect, the most recognized one, of taking up the cross in my previous post on denying self, I am going to explore a possible application that I have not seen addressed as of yet. So, with this quote from Chesterton in mind let’s consider what it could mean to take up our cross daily.

Remember, these are my thoughts on a possible implication of this passage, so be as the noble-minded Bereans and let this stir you to study the Word.

Jesus calls us to first deny ourselves, as we covered here. Next He bids us to take up our cross daily. What He is essentially calling us to do, among other things (for which there are volumes of books already collecting dust on the shelves of our minds), is to bear the full weight of our own defeat - every day. But it’s not a bad defeat; not at all. This defeat is, however, truly an acknowledgement that we are helpless. In truth, the world, namely sin, has defeated us. Paul explains this to us in Ephesians 2:1 when he says that we are all dead in trespasses and sins. Incidentally, what he spends the first three chapters of his letter to the Romans telling us is this: In our own power we utterly lack any ability to overcome the world, to overcome our innate sinful nature, or to overcome our daily propensity to sin against the God who gives us life.

And with this knowledge we embrace our defeat; we hoist it onto our shoulder and carry it to the Cross that is firmly planted precisely in the dividing point of history. We then lay it down there at the feet of Christ. That’s as far as we must carry it, for He has promised us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. And once we have brought it to Him He promises to carry it the rest of the way.

And indeed He has; for although He rose victorious that first resurrection Sunday, Friday He was defeated.

No, defeated isn’t the proper term.

He surrendered.

He bore the full weight of defeat, my defeat, your defeat, but He did it willingly. And there, on that cross, He was crushed as the Father poured out all of His fiery wrath against all sin, for all time, upon His beloved Son.

I have strayed from the subject at hand, my apologies. Just remember that what Christ did willingly was to accept that defeat, the wages of sin, so that we would not have to. And what took Him roughly six hours to accomplish would take billions of humans an eternity.

See, He is so valuable that a few hours of His time is worth infinitely more than an eternity of mine and yours. This is because He is infinitely valuable.

Isn’t it humbling to the core that an infinitely valuable Being would sacrifice Himself for such insignificant wretches, whose natural inclination is to rebel against the very One who gives them life and breath, not to mention the possibility of eternal life?

So today, take up that cross my friend, and take it straight to Calvary. Leave it there and go serve God out of gratitude, not obligation. See that your joy is not the result of doing this or that, or refraining from that other thing, but that it is derived solely from the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Because there, He defeated your defeat.

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