The Greatest Need for our day is a return to First Principles
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”
The very first principle for all who would follow Jesus, is the message of the cross—your personal cross.
Luke 9:23 “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.”
We will never have what Christ Jesus has for us in reality, unless we will deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him….
Bearing our cross to the place where we no longer resist His Will in anything….(This is not sinless perfection, but it is final obedience….you will obey what He wills.)
And He sits enthroned in our hearts, and lives.
What is our personal cross? This deals with our wills.
First, it is something you can say “no” to; for it is “whosoever will”, “ if any man will”.
Second, it is personal. My cross is not your cross, and visa-versa.
Third, it is any thing in God’s Will that crosses our wills; or brings up resentment and a feeling of wanting to run away from it.
[I usually feel a bristling in me. And as soon as I do, I know I need to talk to the Lord about this….
“I am not liking Your Will, for whatever reason, but I surrender right now, and ask that Your blessed Holy Spirit will help me, not just do this for Your sake, but change my attitude about it.”]
When we come to the willed decision that Christ is going to rule our lives; then Jesus calls us on to a more intimate calling:
Matthew 16:25 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: And whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”
This deals with our personality: that which is truly us.
You see, from children to grown-ups, we take on the mannerisms and habits and attitudes of the world around us.
What this call deals with is: Jesus freeing us from these entanglements; and giving us liberty to be us….the true us, He created.
He redeemed and saved us…not someone we think we would like to be like.
This is to “lose our lives in ourselves”.
We believe, our souls are the seat of our personality. We are unique, no two are exactly alike.
We believe also, that our souls are the most precious thing to God in all of His Creation….for Christ Jesus paid the Atonement price to save them.
When we are freed and under the liberty of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17-18), only then do we find our life in Christ.
As we continue to deny our self-life (our attitudes, our way of thinking things out, our affections, our reactions),…..so we may find our life in Christ.
Christ deals with us in His own way.
(I knew a child, that every time he became scared…..he would get angry. This was a “mechanism” he used, to cover his fear.
He would yell, he would stomp,….not for the reasons his parents thought, but because he was really scared.
Once they saw that, they were able to deal with him…..not as a brat, having a fit….but as a scared kid……trying to act tough. And that changed everything.)
You see it is only as we get past the “covers” of our attitudes,……that we can deal with the real issues.
Then our attitudes change.
We walk by faith and not by sight.
We “learn, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). We learn discernment…what is good for us, and what is not.
And we gain confidence in our walk with God. We know…
Philippians 3:15 “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect (complete), be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
It is ever an onward walk with Christ….more and more of Him in us, freeing us from every sin and iniquity (anything unequal to your high calling in Christ Jesus)….
….till we are complete: there are no half measures with God.
Free from the bondage and influences of the world, and sin;
Obedient—having our obediences up-to-date;
Surrounded by His peace (Philippians 4:7), practically…..we are at peace with God, with the circumstances….and even, at peace with ourselves.
Rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:17).
He wants us to be fully free, and fully His.
Will we begin to “follow Him”, by denying ourselves and picking up our cross (those things of His Will that cross what we want,….how we think…..how we feel)…….till we no longer resist His Will in anything.
Then going on to lose “our life”, that we might truly be who He has created us to be….finding our life and purpose….in Christ Jesus.