UV 2816/10000 Pattern of Daily Dying and Resurrection
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.
Luke 9 v 23
The cross that Jesus carried is distinct from the cross that He expects us to carry. The cross He carried was a shameful one but He turned it into a source of eternal blessing. So much so, the cross ceased to be a method of judicial execution in due course. The cross that Jesus carried was a cursed one which He turned into a source of blessing. So much so, when a human places his or her trust in the cross of Jesus and His finished work on that cross, he or she becomes an inheritor of all the blessings of Deuteronomy Chapter 28- the blessings of obedience as well as the blessings enumerated by Jesus Himself in Matthew chapter 5.
The cross we carry is not one of death but of life, of the eternal and abundant life Jesus promised His followers. The cross we carry today is the cross of obedience to the Word of Christ. It is the cross of the hope of resurrection and eternal life. We need to deny ourselves of ungodly lusts or desires of this world, die to whatever is displeasing to the Lord. We need to die to our sinful thoughts, words, actions and reactions. Sanctification is a two way process of dying to one’s sinful self and allowing our Christ-like self to live fully in and for Christ. It a means living to the full the kind of life Jesus has called us into. Taking up the cross daily implies that we need to experience a daily dying to what is un-Christlike in our lives and a daily resurrection or living to Christ-likeness. Following Jesus means that we need to consciously and unconsciously imitate Him in all His ways and apply His teachings and principles in our daily lives. While it was Christ’s body that was nailed to the cross, it is our misery, our failings, our evil desires, our negative habits, our negative reactions and responses that are being daily nailed to the cross that Jesus asks us to bear.
Denying ourselves also means denying our own egos. We are not here to please ourselves or to pander to our own whims and desires but to fulfil the will of God even as Jesus did. We need to identify uproot the weeds that the enemy has planted in us. Denial, however, does not mean self-abnegation or cutting out all comforts and pleasures of this world. It is the willing submission of our senses and emotions to the control, guidance and regulation of the Holy Spirit. It is equally being filled with the hope and experience of the resurrection power of Jesus. By means of this power, He puts to death that which needs to die in our lives and brings alive that which needs to be alive and ticking in our lives. The uni-verse in other words outlines a path or plan of continual growth, continual improvement, continual and lifelong learning and unlearning, lifelong pursuit of the perfection of Christ in practical and demonstrable ways.
Prateep V Philip