Our Cross is the Key to the Gate.

keyI’ve been reading a book by John Bevere called “Driven by Eternity.”  It’s challenging me to take a good look at who I am in Christ.  When we become Christians we are crucified in Christ.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh  I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Lately I’ve asked myself if I have ever truly given my life to God? My life has been full of choices that I have made for myself, that weren’t always the choices God wanted me to make.

Wanting to be a “living sacrifice” and follow the narrow path.  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.  Matthew 7:13-14 I was being careful to do well in my day.  Being kind, showing love, looking for open doors to talk to people.  On my break I went to the store to get candy for one of my classes and I saw a woman walking to her car. She had cropped pants on and I could see she had large red marks on her legs. I prayed for her healing.  Then I felt a prompting to actually pray for her. I haven’t felt a prompt like this in a long time. At least I haven’t paid attention to it.

I immediately felt fearful. I ended up walking past the lady and into the store. Thoughts filled my head.  Am I sold out to Him if I won’t listen to Him?  Am I a living sacrifice if I don’t put aside my fear and pride and do what He says?  More urgent thoughts filled my mind.  Will I follow the narrow path to Him? Will I be one of the few that find it?

My next thought, to make myself feel better was, it’s enough to keep myself on the narrow path, now I’m responsible to put others on it too? Then I realized, though it is a process to change the things about you that need to change, by now, I should have mastered control over myself, if I had been truly dead to myself and living for Him! I’ve been following him for over 30 years!  I’ve allowed the enemy to get me so focused on my own drama and so busy striving to get my flesh under control that I have neglected bringing new people into the kingdom.

I’ve told myself that it’s not my gift to evangelize.  I’m not saying that I don’t bless people or try to help support my Christian friends.  But when it comes to approaching a stranger, I feel like I’m imposing, I fear rejection.  I’m still alive to me.

Being yourself is the theme of the day.  YOLO right?  Wrong.  YLF….You Live Forever.  The question is where will you live?  Heaven or Hell?  Jesus said “If any man follow after me he must deny himself daily, take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 10:38 It’s not about finding ourselves.  It’s not about being who we feel we are.  It’s not about us.  It’s about Him. Pleasing Him, obeying Him, loving Him, spending time with Him, becoming more like Him.

“But understand this, in the end people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy.” I Timothy 3:2  I think we’re in the end folks.  This world shouts “me! me! me!”  The very thought of denying who you are to be like someone else, goes against popular culture.

Paul said, “Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Cor. 9:27” When you become a Christian, you become a soldier in active duty.  You don’t follow your own plan, you are to live and die under the commands of your commanding officer.  You are no longer fighting your personal battle, you are fighting His war!  If you don’t follow orders, people perish.

Whereas what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” You do not know what will happen tomorrow. James 4:14 If I say I am a Christian I believe in the Word, because the Word is Christ.  It means I must not only believe in the Word, but I must obey and act on the Word.  If I believe that this life is just a vapor and that I need to stay on the narrow path in order to spend eternity in Heaven, I will follow the commands He gives me.  It’s called dying to self for a reason, it hurts, it’s painful.  His grace is here for us to enable us to do whatever He calls us to do. It also covers us when we fail.  

As I deeply consider the changes I need to make I will think on this; “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14 It’s not all for nothing, we are guaranteed a prize. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, the one who will say to all who follow Him, “well done!”

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