Pick up your Cross
Dying to self is not something I have accomplished. It is something that is happening, yet it isn’t even a choice I am making or have even made.
I loved my life, I enjoyed the things I did. I am a sinner and let me tell you, I wasn’t convinced that I should change at all. Great jobs, great pay, nice things, and pleasures more than any man should know. All these things I had, I was, and yet I found myself crying out to the Lord for answers.
I cry aloud to the Lord;
I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble.
When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
people have hidden a snare for me.
Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.
I cry to you, Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me.
Even with all I had, and all I did, I knew something was missing, I was not happy, not truly happy.
In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice
In my cry, he came upon me (sounds biblically hopeful, but so powerfully true). He came to me, and created a new man within me. Instantly, permanently, and so powerfully, that I don’t even know who I am anymore, I don’t recognize me, I wasn’t this man, and only through Jesus here I am! What I sought before doesn’t interest me. What I lived for is gone. All of my hopes, my dreams, my desires, everything I was is gone, and yet I don’t mourn.
This new life, this new me, this stranger I live with…
Like I said, I didn’t make this choice. I didn’t say to myself, I’m not doing this anymore, or I shouldn’t do that, I just no longer desire these things, they aren’t me anymore. I am free, I have died with Christ and am reborn in him. I am certain I would still enjoy the ways of my past, after all, it was fun, but it doesn’t appeal to me.
Here is the beautiful thing. All of that loss, the money, the homes, the pleasures of sex and greed, have been replaced by sheer joy, utter bliss, complete and unequivocal peace in Jesus Christ! Do you know what it is like to look at an insect and just be blown away by the beauty and unimaginable intelligence that created such a creature? You need to know this, you really do. To think of all the bugs I have killed in disgust, and then see myself reach out my hand to a wasp in my house and carry it outside…who is this man???
And the blessings he has poured out on me in this new person. I can’t even begin to explain where I have been led, and the beautiful people he has placed in my path. I have seen the Words of Jesus come to light;
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age” Mark 10:29-30
I could go on and on, as many of you know, but not today, there is work to be done, the harvest is plenty, and the workers few…let me just say this;
He is calling you. Get up, and follow…you will not be sorry.