The Cross Day by Day

“If any man will come after Me [Christ Jesus], let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9. 23).

I think often we accept the cross in theory, but when it comes to practice, we either do not recognize it for what it is, or we recognize it and try to avoid it. This we can always do, for the cross is something that can be taken up or left, just as we choose.

It [the Cross for the Christian] is not illness (that comes to all), or bereavement (that also is the common lot of man). It is something voluntarily suffered for the sake of the Lord Jesus, some denial of self, that would not be if we were not following Him; often it is something that has shame in it (this, of course, was the earliest connotation of the word), such as the misunderstanding of friends and their blame, when the principles which govern our lives appear foolishness to them. It always has at its core the denial of self and self-love in all its manifestation.

Self-choices go down before the call to take up the cross and follow. They fade away and cease to be.

“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me” (Gal. 2. 20a).

Just when we most earnestly desire to live like this, the weary old self [the flesh] seems to come to life again-the “I” that we had trusted was crucified with Christ.[1]  It is very disappointing when this happens, and the devil watches not far away, and very quietly and with great subtlety he tries to draw us into hopeless distress and despair. If he can do that he is satisfied, for then we are occupied with ourselves, which is what he wants us to be.

The one and only thing is to look straight off ourselves and our wretched failure, and cry to Him Who is mighty to save He never refuses that cry; so do not fear. The moment self is recognized, look to Him. Do not be discouraged; He is not discouraged. He who has begun a good work in us will go on to perfect it. The going on may take time; even so, He will go on till (0 blessed “till”) we are perfected [Phil. 1:6; Heb. 12:2].

[Paul demonstrated this daily relationship, “Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus 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 Cor. 4:10,11).

The rest of Galatians 2:20 testifies,”… 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.” [2]

May we take up our personal cross daily, trusting the indwelling Christ to live His life through us.]

From Edges of His Ways, Christian Literature Crusade,1955, 52,53.

Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) was a Protestant Christian missionary in India, who opened an orphanage and founded a mission in Dohnavur. She served in India for 55 years without furlough and wrote many books about the missionary work there.

[1] The first “I” of Galatians 2:20 is what Romans 6:6 identifies as “the old man” i.e., who you were in Adam positionally and spiritually. This has been “put off” once and for all when we were baptized into Christ’s death and raised with Him through saving faith in Christ at conversion (Rom. 6:4; Col. 3:9). However, “the flesh” (our residual independence) is an aspect of “self” that requires ongoing “not I” choices, so that the Holy Spirit enables us to walk in His love and righteousness day by day (Gal. 5:16,17). See the Grace Note articles “Sorting Your Self Out” and David Needham’s notes on these distinctions.

[2] The use of “flesh” at the end of Galatians 2:20 refers to our mortal body (as in Matt. 16:17; 24:22).

Bracketed Scripture (NKJV), text, and footnotes added – JBW

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