[The concept of “the Cross” in this article involves, not only Christ’s substitutionary death on Calvary for our redemption, but the Cross in the life of the believer. This dimension involves discovering and claiming as personally true, our co-death and co-resurrection with Christ by faith. This “not I, but Christ” level of discipleship is illustrated in John 15:1-8 as the Abiding Life.
“Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 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. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 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. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:3-11).]
“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
One of the blessings of the cross consists in this, that it teaches us to know the worthlessness of our efforts, and the utter corruption of our own natural condition. The cross does not offer to improve human nature, or to supply what man is unable to do. Many people, indeed, use it in this way, like patching a new cloth on an old garment. But this rends the garment, and such persons walk about in torn clothes, and go from one minister to another, without finding what they seek. No, the old garment, our old patterns, must be laid aside, and given over to the death of the cross. And the cross causes all that is of the lost nature of man to die the accursed death, and the “I” takes the place of a malefactor: it breaks the staff over all that is of the old fleshly ways.
Whosoever has been brought to the cross through the Spirit, has learned to pronounce the death sentence on his flesh. He has broken the staff over the self-life, for whatever does not bear the mark of the cross, lies under the curse. He who would save his life, remains under the curse. If we have learned through the Spirit to understand the cross, then we have lost our life , and will no longer expect any spiritual good from our natural resources, and will not judge others, but ourselves only.
But as long as we have not been taught this lesson through the Spirit, we shall try to find good in ourselves, something of worth in God’s sight, and upon which the sentence of death need not be passed. And if we find nothing at all, we fall into a false grief, which the Evil One eagerly uses to make us despair, by saying: “You may as well give up; God will not trouble about you. There is nothing for you but failure.”
But this is not what God desires. What we possess by nature must be nailed to the cross, and we must put on the new man.
” …put off, concerning your former conduct, [the old patterns of the] the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24) 
The cross brings man to utter bankruptcy of himself, and then God can come to his aid. The cross brought the disciples of Jesus once to such an end of themselves, which even the words of the Master had failed to do. It took from them the halo of holiness which they thought they had won in the three years that they followed Jesus, and it taught them to know themselves. And so they were prepared to receive the Holy Spirit, Who would impart a new nature and a new life. For we cannot separate the cross from the Spirit. We can have no Easter and no Pentecost, until we have first had a Good Friday.
Through the cross alone we are prepared for life in the fullness of God; only he who is experientially crucified with Christ can be a vessel unto honor.
Our “old man” was crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6), and in the resurrection of Christ we find the roots of our new life (1 Pet. 1:3). Whoever loses his life, shall find it. We must learn the lesson of the cross, as condemned and rejected ones, who have been crucified with Christ. Then the door will be open for a life of power and blessing.
“…always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Cor. 4:10).
All that belongs to death must be given over to death, even as the body is laid away in the earth, because it belongs to the earth.
The Holy Spirit, the Eternal Spirit, is unchangeable. He brought Christ our Head to the cross, and us His children with Him. For this work in us is twofold. On the one hand, it leads us to death, and all that belongs to death; and on the other hand, to that life which God has placed within us , and which leads from glory to glory.
God’s Best Secrets (Zondervan), July 5 reading. Andrew Murray (1828-1917) of South Africa was a missionary, statesman, revivalist, evangelist and pastor. He is one of the best loved and most widely read authors on the Christian life.
Footnotes and minor editing – JBW
 Galatians 5:24
 Matthew 16:25
 Quotation Added
 Consider, for example, the self confidence, then the brokenness, the restoration, and the empowerment of Peter (Matt. 26:33-35;69-75; John 21:15-22; Acts 2-10.
 2 Timothy 2:21
 Quotation added
 Colossians 1:27
If putting behind the painful past has eluded you, Come Up Higher, by Altha Burts will be a helpful read. Removed from her home at age 12 because of child abuse, Altha entered into the foster care system living in various individual and group homes. Her search for identity lead her into a lifestyle of sexual confusion and drug addiction which eventually lead to a mental breakdown. Discover how Altha came to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and how she learned to abide in Him, her Risen Lord, gleaning truths from the Bible daily as He progressively healed her. Available in print, ebook and free online audio format at SUH Ministry here.