Have you ever thought about what Yahshua meant when he said in Luke 9:23-24 “…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.”?
As I was driving the other day and listening to Elisabeth Elliot (now Elisabeth Gren), she mentioned this verse and what she said really made me stop and ponder it in a way I’ve never done before. I’ve always been puzzled over this passage for some odd reason. What did it truly mean? What could be my cross and how could I take it up daily? Here is what she said “The cross means suffering. Suffering’s meaning is to be learned through the cross”. In other words, the meaning of suffering can be found in the cross…in the death of Yahshua. He suffered for us. He learned obedience in giving up all, to follow Yahweh. It was total abandonment of oneself, to follow someone far greater than ourselves, who has our best interest at heart…and when I say our best interest at heart, I do not believe that Yahshua is all about pleasing us or giving us what we want, but in making us wholely his. Our best interest is preparing us for eternity and confirming us to himself. Whatever that takes, no matter where that takes us, is certainly for our good!
When I look back and I see Yahshua before the crucifiction in the garden, I see him at a place where he is on his knees. He is sweating drops of blood! He knew what he was about to have to go through and he really didn’t want to go through it. He even asked Yahweh if there was any other way, to remove it from his life (i.e. not make him go through it). It’s not like Yahshua looked forward to being crucified! Yet, what do we see him saying in the very next sentence? “nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done”. It was when and only when he came to this place of total abandoment of himself and his will, surrendering it all to Yahweh, that we see the next verse… “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:42-43) He first had to accept his cross, his suffering, and then when he submitted himself to his father’s will, Yahweh sent angels to minister and strengthen him.
Girls, how often do we get to this place ourselves? How often do we face things, go through things, that we honestly don’t look forward to or want to go through? Yet, do we follow Yahshua’s example and come to a place of full abandonment and surrender, taking up the cross Yahweh has given us (whatever that may be), and fully surrender our will to that of our Masters? Do we learn obedience through our crosses, our sufferings, our trials? Or do we simply complain that we must go through or do whatever it is that He has set before us to do? Do we simply demand that Yahweh remove it from our lives? It’s a beautiful place when we, like Yahshua, can truly say “nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done”!
I want to encourage each of you, no matter what it is that Yahweh has asked you to walk through, that you first realize that it isn’t for naught that he asks such a thing of you, and to realize that if we truly accept our crosses of suffering, surrendering our will for his, that he will send us ministering angels to strengthen us, too! He doesn’t ask us to walk down the path of life alone! He doesn’t ask us to do anything that he himself, has not already done/gone through! Allow him to put you through his purifying fire, no matter what that might entail. Welcome it, knowing that he is confirming you to his Son! This is what we must go through…this is what he’s asking you to go through. Don’t reject it. Don’t complain about it. Each day, joyfully choose to pick that cross up, and follow him. Choose to fully surrender your dreams, your desires, your plans, so that you can embrace his dreams, his desires, and his plans for your life.
I’d like to leave you a song that I think really goes with this subject. It’s called “Trust and Obey” and really, isn’t that what our life is all about…learning to simply trust and obey him?
Trust and Obey
When we walk with Yahweh in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Refrain:Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.