For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Cor. 2:2)
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Gal 6:14)
For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you. (2 Cor. 13:4)
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal 5:24)
Dear beloved and precious end-time saints -
The only way we can truly and personally know Christ crucified is to be crucified with Him. Paul is not suggesting here that he wishes to know “about” Christ crucified – to know this as a mere doctrine or a teaching, but we see elsewhere what he really meant – to enter into the experience of Christ crucified; the work of the cross for the dying to the life of the self and this world. This is that part of the gospel that so many, even myself on my best days, simply don’t want to hear or experience.
Because it is so terribly hard and painful; so penetrating and deep. Yet this is the singular path for the increase of the life of God in us, all of us, not just the Pauls and the great saints we quote so much in our writings.
Oh my dear brothers and sisters – to die to ourselves, to all we are, to all we know, to this world and our place in it, whatever that means to each of us personally. Bitterness, betrayal, anguish, the very deepest and lingering kind of sorrow and heaviness – such that there is nothing of us left. NOTHING. Such that we no longer have any confidence, any resource, and instinct left in ourselves. Everything goes up to the cross, even things that are not inherently bad or evil. Our freedom for example, our options and opportunities in this world, our physical health, our names and titles, our family and our children even, our little securities and situations that if we are honest mean so very much to us.
Oh Lord, in your grace and mercy, help us! Lift us up Lord but then fill us with all that You are! Let Your light and life shine forth in us in ever-increasing freedom and flow. Help us to simply get through this day Oh Lord – to remain steadfast, to wait on Thee, to trust You completely and utterly.
Oh dear ones – if one of us is suffering, if one among us is coming to know this cross in a present and personal way, and you know of them, then the Lord fully expects you to bear this one’s burdens, to love them and minister to them, to come along side them as the ever-ministering Spirit makes possible. This is truly the only way any of us can bear so great a weight. To give a drink of water to one of His suffering ones – here is where the richest rewards are found in His kingdom. He is watching in this hour to see how we serve and love one another, for this is the true disciple, the one that all men will see as the one who has love for one another. Ask Him to make known where He wants you to help, to love, to give, to lose yourself in another’s suffering – for my sense in this dread hour is that so many of His own will be going through these crucifying trials in order to bring forth this bride for the groom.
Amen Oh Lord. Amen.