Welcome to my blog: I intend to share heartfelt writing about anything that comes to mind.
|This will be my first entry for:
First of all, I would like to say some things about Taking up my cross in general, and what it personally means to me. I actually love this idea of daily writing about our Christian walk and how we should take up our cross. It is good to put ourselves in remembrance of these things and to truly think about how we are living our daily lives.
The cross itself represents a lot of different things to many different people. To some, it represents Salvation. To another, it is a representation of suffering, death, and pain. Others may see it as a symbol of hope. There are those that like to wear it as a religious symbol around their neck to make themselves look good. Others still, may keep it and cherish it, such as on a rosary. It might be held up and waved around to scare off demons and evil spirits, making it a sacred object of protection.
What does the cross itself mean to me? It is an alter where a very precious sacrifice was slain and given for my sins and the sins of the whole world. The cross of Jesus is a very expensive item. He paid for it with his physical life. He was literally drained of all his life-blood like an animal sacrificed to the God of Creation. He did it willingly to bring Salvation to us all, and to gain victory over sin and death and Hell. Because of his sacrifice, we don’t have to be thrown into the lake of fire, which is the second (spiritual) death, unless we choose to reject this gift of Salvation.
So what does it mean to pick up my cross and to follow him? What does this actually mean to me? I must also be willing to lay down my life for Christ and for others. I must reject the lust and desires of my flesh in order to die to myself and to live for him. I must be willing to suffer for the sake of the cause. I must be willing to walk in Jesus’ steps. Why? Not only should I do this because I love my God and others, but for the hope of eternal life after my physical death for myself and others. I keep in mind the full picture, knowing what my end will be and the unbeliever’s.
Take Up Your Cross
I was preaching today. The topic was one that I was a bit reluctant to preach on because it placed me and one of the members of my congregation in direct conflict with each other. It was a sermon about judging others as sinful because we disagree with their blatantly sinful choices. I take the position that we are all equally guilty in the eyes of God and that the only difference between Christians and non-believers is that our daily sinfulness is forgiven. I was sure I hurt his feelings so I spoke with him about it later. He said that I had not. I had spoken what God had given me.
How do you deal with conflicts of belief with fellow believers?
Whatever we do, we must do it in love. God is love, and we represent him. Tone of voice and non-verbal communication (hand gestures, facial expressions, etc...) have a big part in the way your message is received. So keep in mind, even though what you actually said was good, what you didn’t say can also cause offense to someone.
Jesus told us we would be persecuted for his name sake. We can be persecuted or troubled by fellow believers as well as unbelievers. We are all sinners. We all come short of the glory of God. Sometimes it is fellow believers that we are offended by the most because we least expect it from them. I think this is why a lot of people stop attending church. We must bare in mind, people need church because we need a savior and are imperfect beings. We come to church to worship God, to learn God’s ways, for healing, for prayers, for support, and for fellowship with others.
Sometimes we have to respectfully agree to disagree with another believer. We get so emotional in our beliefs and opinions that some of us forget how to act. Violence, strife, disagreements, fighting, lack of unity, and murder are all not of God. We must have wisdom and discretion to know when it is appropriate or necessary for us to walk away from the situation. We must keep our emotions in check; we have to control our emotions and not let them control us. We have to remember to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and the full armor of God. How would Jesus respond to the person disagreeing with you?