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TAKING UP THE CROSS.
By Andrew Murray.
Even while the Christian is striving to follow Christ, and in some measure to take his Cross, there is a secret power that resists and prevents. The one who is praying and struggling to follow Christ fully can find that his inmost self refuses the Cross his Lord has called him to take up. Self, the real centre of our being, the controlling power, so often refuses to accept the Cross. And so Christ teaches Peter, and us, when He speaks of taking the Cross, that it must commence with the total denial of self.
Taking the Cross, means the acceptance of and surrender to the death of the self. The real inner life of the person must die. “Let him deny himself and take up his Cross and follow Me.” “He who loses his life shall find it.”
Christ calls us to hate and to lose our life, to deny ourself. Why is this self-life to be put on the Cross? Why, if Christ died for us on the Cross and won life for us, must we still die, deny ourself, and take up our Cross daily?
The answer is not easy to understand. Only to the soul that consents to obey Jesus before it understands, will the real spiritual answer be made clear. Through the sin of Adam the life of humankind fell out of its high estate, and fell under the power of this world, in which the god of this world has his rule and his dominion. And so humankind has become a creature possessed by a strange worldly life. The will of God, heaven and holiness, for which we were created, have become darkened and lost to us. The pleasures of the flesh, of the world and of self have become natural and attractive. We do not see, do not know, how sinful, wretched and poor we are, alienated from God, and bearing within us the very seeds of death. And this self, this inmost root of our life, which we love so well is the concentration of all that is not of God. With a great deal of what is naturally beautiful and seemingly good, the power of self and its pride corrupts and makes it the very seat of sin and death.
Once we have consented to the life of entire denial of self, the Cross will be welcomed and loved as the appointed power of God for freeing us from the evil power that is the only hindrance in our way of being fully conformed to the image of God’s Son, loving and serving the Father even as Jesus did.
From: ‘The Cross of Christ’.
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