An Outline Teaching
Since the believer’s SPIRIT is already saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), and his BODY will be saved (redeemed) at the resurrection (Romans 8:22-24), the major focus for taking up the Cross for victorious living is the SOUL. “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).
The essence of the Cross is “Not me, but God … in spite of the cost.” Then Jesus said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me'” (Luke 9:23).
Consider how the Cross relates to the faculties of the believer’s SOUL: your mind, will, emotions, and affections. The following points are supported by petitions, affirmations, biblical passages, and applications. These truths will guide the believer in maintaining a Christ-centered focus.
1. Taking up the Cross through your MIND.
Prayer: “Not my perspective, but may God’s perspective determine my thoughts.”
I have been united with Christ in my spirit. “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” I Corinthians 6:17; Cf. John 14:20
I have been united with Christ in His Death. “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Romans 6:6
I have been united with Christ in His Burial. “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
I have been united with Christ in His Resurrection. “Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. Ephesians 2:6; Cf. Romans 5:10; 8:11
I have been united with Christ in His Ascension. “If [since] then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory”. Colossians 3:1-4
Christ is the true Vine; I am a branch. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing”. John 15:5
Christ in me is the hope of glory. “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27
God completely accepts me in Christ. “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved”. Ephesians 1:6)
I have a new identity in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”. 2 Corinthians 5:17
I am free from sin’s authority. “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” Romans 6:22
God’s Word is far above my natural thoughts.”For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-11
Response: Will you surrender your flesh-based perspectives and embrace God’s truth by faith?
2. Taking up the Cross through your WILL
Prayer: “Not my will, but God’s will be done.” Matthew 26:39)
I surrender all my rights to God, my Vindicator. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1, Cf. v.14,17-21; Philippians 1:1
I give up independent control of my life. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29
I yield to God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. Romans 12:2; Cf. Psalm 40:8
I no longer live for myself, but for the One who died for me and rose again. “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14,15
Response: Will you surrender your will to God in every area of your life?
3. The Cross applied to your EMOTIONS.
Prayer: “Not my resources, but may God’s resources be my source of living.”
I rely on Christ in me. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20;Cf. John 15:1-5
God will meet all my ultimate needs. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
My adequacy comes from Him. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5
I will not rely on my coping mechanisms. “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns–broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13
God’s love will compensate me for human rejection. “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalms 73:25,26
I will wait upon the Lord. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30,31
Response: Will you fully depend upon the resources of the indwelling Christ for daily living?
4. The Cross applied to your AFFECTIONS.
Prayer: “Not my values, but may God’s values motivate me.”
I respond to God’s love by loving Him with all of my heart, and my neighbor as myself. “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” Matthew 22:37,38
Losing my “life” for Christ’s sake, I will find it. “For whoever desires to save his life [soul] will lose it, but whoever loses his life [soul] for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25; Cf. Psalm 37:4
I look to eternal things for lasting significance. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17,18
I set my affection on things above, where my Savior is seated. “Set your mind [heart] on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2,3
I will lay up treasures in heaven, where my heart is focused. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
My ultimate aim is to be conformed to the image of Christ. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:28,29
To live is Christ. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
The purpose of my life is to bring glory to God. “We who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:12; Cf v. 6
I desire to be a good steward of my time, talents, and treasures. “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2; Eph 5:16
Response: Will you delight yourself in God and His ultimate plan for your life?
This deeper application of the Cross is a daily choice. The “Exchanged Life” is not only an experience to achieve, but a relationship to maintain.
“Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus [the daily Cross], that the life of Jesus [Abundant Life] also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” 2 Corinthians 4:10,11.
Grace Notes (c) 2000 by John Woodward. 2nd edition. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.