But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.WOW! Is THIS how I can look more like Jesus? Then I will run to my cross! I will pick it up! I will embrace it! And I will thank that Holy Spirit that only through His power am I able to do this.
That’s how I’ve been thinking about this walk with God. It seems like I’m never satisfied: I want to do things for Him. I want to know Him more and more. I’m never satisfied, I can never get enough of Him. But at the same time I have a contentment in me. He feeds me with His Word. The Holy Bible. What an amazing gift we have in His Living Word! I once read where Charles Spurgeon, a great preacher from the 1800’s, referred to the ‘deep things of God’ like soil. In that soil, he said, we may dig and dig, as deep as we ever would, and still never exhaust the golden nuggets which lies within it. The Living Word of God is like that. We only need to scratch the surface and get a huge harvest. We will be astonished at the plentitude of spiritual wealth which lies before us! After my last blog, where I recounted a childhood experience with a rabbit, I have been considering what IS the cost when the Lord calls you to a ministry. Because I don’t want to kid myself: there IS a cost. Jesus was very clear about that. Read Matthew 10:38 and Luke 9:23. Jesus said if I want to be His disciple I must DAILY take up my cross and follow Him. And in Luke 14:26-35, Jesus tells me clearly to count the cost. There WILL be a cost. As I was studying SOME of the men and women of God, I was struck by the fact that the great ones had huge burdens they carried. These are just a few: Martin Luther – struggled with horrible depression, sometimes he would be bedridden for days. Charles Spurgeon – suffered with painful gout and debilitating kidney failure . We read in the Bible how the apostle Paul cried out to the Lord three times, to ‘take away’ the thorn that had been placed in his flesh. We don’t know what that thorn was, exactly, but it must have been bad for Paul, who had already endured persecution, shipwreck, hunger, etc., to cry out about it! Oh, my, there’s so many, but none as great as Jesus, what He endured. His cross. The cross that bore all of our sins. The cross that bore the wrath of God that WE deserved. And Jesus is clear about His expectations for His diciples: we are to take up our cross. I looked up the meaning of ‘cross’. Cross- ‘execution device’. A thing that brings about death. WOW. THAT makes me stop and think! What is it in my life, in your life, that the Lord is allowing, which as a result, will bring about some sort of death in you or me? Is it another person, who is intolerable, unloveable, even hateful? Is THIS my ‘cross’ for today?….. to love that person, to be a blessing to that person, to submit to that person? Would this action be the ‘execution device’ which would bring about death in me – death of my fleshly nature to be angry, to retaliate, to be cold and uncaring? I say again, WOW! This is HUGE. This is why like Jesus, we must not only take up our cross but we must embrace it. Love it. Be like Jesus, “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross”. (Hebrews 12:1) Any the ‘joy set before us’? The apostle Paul describes it as follows in 2 Corinthians 4:7-11: