DELIVERANCE FROM "ME"
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God.
What are the terms of discipleship?
Only one with a perfect knowledge of mankind could have dared to make them. Only the Lord of men could have risked the effect of such rigorous demands: Let him deny himself. We hear these words and shake our heads in astonishment. Can we have heard aright? Can the Lord lay down such severe rules at the door of the Kingdom?
He can and He does. If He is to save the man, He must save him from himself. It is the himself which has enslaved and corrupted the man. Deliverance comes only by denial of that self. No man in his own strength can shed the chains with which self has bound him, but in the next breath the Lord reveals the source of the power which is to set the soul free: Let him take up his cross.
The cross has gathered in the course of the years much of beauty and symbolism, but the cross of which Jesus spoke had nothing of beauty in it. It was an instrument of death. Slaying men was its only function. Men did not wear that cross; but that cross wore men. It stood naked until a man was pinned on it, a living man fastened like some grotesque stickpin on its breast to writhe and groan till death stilled and silenced him.
That is the cross. Nothing less.
And when it is robbed of its tears and blood and pain it is the cross no longer. Let him take . . . his cross, said Jesus, and in death he will know deliverance from himself.
The cross we are to carry is not a church steeple or a decorative emblem to be worn around the neck. The cross is an instrument of "me" death so that Christ may live in us.
Lord, we have made the cross so beautiful and decorative but it remains an instrument of death — "me" death so that I may live in You and You may live in me. I need that cross today.