12th DECEMBER 2019“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Philippians 3:12
As a Christian, the course of your journey through life is already mapped out under the footsteps of Christ our Lord and savior! You have to carry your cross along the way! The Master told the young seeker of truth, “Go sell everything you have and give to the poor, then come carry your cross, and follow me” (Ref. Mark 10:17-21) Ordinarily, to carry one’s cross and follow the Master means that we should leave behind all the allurements and temptations of life, and follow the footsteps of the Master and strive towards perfection (Ref: Matthew 5:48) The Master is not quarreling with anyone being wealthy per se, “but He has a problem with being possessive”. Here, the Master is drawing a difference between “being possessive” and being rich. To be possessive of wealth is to be attached to riches above every other thing, and to carry on life as if wealth is everything. This is not good enough, for it is written that man must not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from God. However, to be wealthy is to apply your wealth for the good of everyone! Hence the Master says to the young fellow, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, then pick up your cross and follow me. To pick one’s cross and follow Jesus is to undergo a process of inner transformation wherein on a daily basis, we are able to nail onto our inner cross, all the temptations and a natural pullback in life. For instance, if an impure thought to do harm to another crosses your mind, you are expected to take hold of it and nail it onto your inner cross. There are so many thoughts to do what is not right that cross our hearts daily. Do NOT let such thoughts to take hold of your life. They would ruin you!
Let your mind guard the door of your heart, and decide what comes through. When a sinful thought pops up in your mind the first time, it is a temptation – a “suggestion” from the devil. But you can choose to deny that thought access to your heart! In practice, that means that as soon as you become aware of the thought, you disagree with it. You don’t dwell on it. The thought meets a firm “no” in your mind. You don’t permit the thought to pass through your mind and come into your heart. Ignoring these sinful thoughts is how you take up your cross daily. The good news is that when you suffer in your flesh, that is to say, when you take up your cross and deny the sinful thoughts that come up into your mind, you will actually cease from sin! You will become actually transformed by the renewal of your mind! Jesus wants us to be like Him! This, of course, is a daily exercise, for we must strive daily towards perfection. Today’s word is telling us to strive daily towards perfection, for that is what the Master expects from us.
Father in the name of Jesus Christ, I thank you for your word today. Father deliver me from my weaknesses and give me the strength to grow in the Spirit. AMEN.
FURTHER READING: Matthew 16:24-26