Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Cross Leads To Our Cross

As we continue our Lenten journey with Bonnie over at Faith Barista Jam, this week's prompt word is "your cross".   I struggled at first with this, not knowing what direction to go.  In the past I have heard people say, "it is my cross to bear"  in regards to their circumstances, but I did not feel that was where God was leading me. I felt drawn to the words of Jesus.

Jesus spoke of our crosses in Luke 9:23 where we read, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up His cross daily and follow me." Searching for the meaning behind His words led me to Billy Graham's site where he explained that the cross Jesus spoke of in Luke was not only a symbol of pain and suffering but a symbol of death.  Jesus was asking His disciples to put to death their own plans and desires and follow Him, turning their lives over to Him every day.

He asks the same of us.  To die to self. 

"I surrender all.......
I surrender all.....
All to thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all"

Letting go of all our plans and desires for Yours, Jesus.  
That is our cross.

"Follow Jesus, I will follow Jesus
Follow Him wherever He may lead me
Follow Jesus, I will follow Jesus
Anywhere He leads I go."

Like everyone else, I have a long list of plans and desires for my life.  Even as a gray haired granny I look forward to a great future!  For starters, I desire to be completely well with all the pain gone for good. I want to be much thinner ( of course) and stronger.  I would love to have my hubby around 24/7.  and I hope to join him in a ministry for healing, helping others in need.  I long to somehow be closer to our family.  I don't feel any of these desires are wrong, but do I value them over God's plans?    Can I let go of my plans for those of my Savior?  Can I, can we trust His plans for us?

Recently I have been reflecting about the difficulty of saying "Yes, Lord" in all areas of our lives, so it does not surprise me that the "your cross- dying to self" has surfaced.  God has been persistent with me in this area of my life.  This surrendering that He asks.  As Heidi Baker says in her book "Birthing The Miraculous", "God wants to love you to death to kiss you to life."  He is preparing us for our calling in all seasons of our lives.  My cross --dying to self,  prepares me for my calling.   It is the only way we can follow Jesus.

I like this dying to self when I believe Jesus and I are on the same page.....of course He would want us to have a healing ministry.....of course He would want us to be together more and see family more...But when the dying to self means laying down everything important to me, every plan, every desire,  it gets hard.  Suddenly being loved to death to be kissed to life does not look so inviting.

But you see, Jesus loves us so much that when He asks something of us, we can trust He is doing so in love.  We can trust that He knows what we hold dear.  We can turn to His Word....the truths we find in scripture and with confidence say, "Yes, Lord." 
"For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord....
plans for good and not for evil" (Jer. 29:11).  
Stand on His promises and trust Him, and when we do we are able to lay all our plans down at the foot of HIS cross, surrendering and thus picking up our own cross.  The Cross leads to our own cross of surrender and on that journey we live the abundant life Jesus promises..


Melissa R said...

Thank you, Renee, for this reminder! Yes, it's easy to follow when we're on the same page as Jesus. When He asks us to depart from what WE want, it gets much harder!

Lisa notes... said...

"Even as a gray haired granny I look forward to a great future!" Love that, Renee. :)

Dying to self is the hardest thing we ever do, and we have to do it over and over. But thankfully life on the other side of that is worth it all!

Melinda McCray said...

Stopping in from the Faith Jam. Beautiful words Renee. I love the quote by Heidi. You know what is interesting is that in my walk with Jesus, the Lord has called me Sleeping Beauty. Thank you for your faithfulness to post vulnerably.

I have Fibromyalgia. I too know what it is like to want the pain to end. Saying a prayer for you. Melinda

Trudy said...

I love this reminder, Renee. Dying to self is so very difficult, but what a blessing if we can let go of our plans, desires, etc. and surrender to His will. He knows what's best for us even though we can't always feel it. Such a powerful quote - "God wants to love you to death to kiss you to life." Thank you.

dunlizzie said...

Yes! Exactly. I think people have at times used the expression to give themselves an identity based in suffering, when in fact the cross we carry is about surrendering to accept an identity based in Him. It can be hard at times for sure, but it leads us to life.

Debbie P said...

Saying "Yes, Lord" in all circumstances is so hard. But peace comes when we do.

HisFireFly said...

I took a similar direction as you, not certain as I began, but realizing as I wrote that "surrender" IS my cross

Krista Sprankle said...

Ah, dying to self.... why is that SO hard sometimes? Like you I have many plans for the future but also like you I must yield to what God inevitably has planned. I pray that we can have our dreams for the future but have peace in knowing the Father knows best. ;)

Great post Renee!