And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. ~ Jesus in Luke 9:23-24
What does it mean to take up (carry/bear) our cross daily?
While Jesus washed away our sins and the sin nature on the cross of Golgotha, there is also an eternal, inwrought cross principle that is the very heartbeat of the expression of divine life. Living in community today with other Christians and experiencing real internal growth and maturity emanates out from an experience of this cross principle.
In DeVern Fromke’s book, Ultimate Intention, he describes the eternal, inwrought cross:
We see then the Cross is far more than an act in history. It expresses the very qualities and manner of life of the Triune God. It is the life-giving, light-sharing and love-bestowing principle by which God has dealt with man from the beginning. …
In thinking of the Cross only as a redemptive measure, we have missed God’s larger intention. Yet the total inference of Scripture is that from the beginning the Father longed for a family of sons who would embrace the same Cross principle that has ever governed His own heart. It was His intention that the Cross might be so inwrought in these sons as to become their manner and purpose of life. And until this giving and sharing can be accomplished in man, there is no real basis of fellowship for God and man.
But we might ask, “How much did the first man, Adam, know of God’s intention for him?”
Once again it becomes evident that when we begin at the right place – in the paternal heart – we shall always see things in God’s larger perspective. The Cross which has usually appeared only redemptive becomes much more. It becomes expressive of God’s manner of life which He intends in due time to be reflected everywhere in the universe.
From our present viewpoint we know that the Father was inviting Adam to embrace the Cross-principle as the manner and purpose of his life. This, however, could not be thrust upon him, but must come as the exercise of moral choice – the choice of living to give, to serve, and thus, to share. We are sure that God was waiting to make a fuller disclosure of His inner being which would have unfolded more and more as Adam went from one step of obedience to another step of obedience.
Had Adam chosen initially the divine intention for his life – a choice represented in the two trees – then through each successive choice this divine way of life would have been more fully inwrought in him. His first choice of the Cross, as an operating principle, would call for a continued ratifying to make it an operating practice in his daily walk. Thus God and man would have become two hearts living in complete harmony.
This cross principle calls us to lay down our own lives, our own self-interest, and to elevate others in our place.
The cross principle calls us to a life of service and sacrifice (with a good attitude).
The cross principle calls us let go of the old, dead person, and embrace the new, truly alive person in Christ.
The cross principle of community life reveals who we really are, flaws and all.
The cross principle of community life reveals the measure of Christ in others when your flaws are revealed.
The cross principle bids our flesh to come and die, and the Spirit of Christ to come and live.
For further reflection on living this cross principle, Frank Viola recently shared a transcribed message and an expanded spoken message on his blog on the theme of this cross in community life. Both are highly recommended.
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