The Grace To Pick Up My Cross


May the peace and grace of God our Father, and of His Son our Lord and Savior Jesus-Christ, be with you. But grace, Oh the grace of God…what does it mean? As I am seating here in my home in the late hours of the night, I cannot but conclude that, in my day, much of the teachings of the Apostles, and of Jesus-Christ Himself have been lost. Today, thanks to the false teachings of many eloquent men and women, rather than growing in humility, Christians are increasingly proud and boastful. They claim to be humble, pretending to be giving all the glory to Christ, but will not do one of His commands, to follow Him wherever He goes. What they sing at worship they do not do. They admire what He has accomplished in His life and on the cross, but this admiration does not translate into a change of life. They are like one who stares at Jesus on the cross, weeps and is in awe of Him for His ultimate sacrifice, but then return to his former life, leaving Him on the cross.

But the grace of God calls for Christians to take up their own crosses, and to follow Christ even in suffering. That is the only way true grace can be experienced. God told the Apostle Paul “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. To which Paul replied “…therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. But Christians today are proud, and speak as if the power of Christ is a permanent fixture upon them. They avoid insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ. Yet, they have the arrogance to claim that power. How can one fail to notice the proud and triumphalist tone of Christians in the proclamation of their faith? While Christians are called to humility, and urged to constantly pray for God’s help, many a Christian today rest in their own self-assurance that they are in perfect harmony with God through the blood of Christ. They walk around proud, claiming to be forgiven, to be righteous, to be highly favored, that God knows their name, to have eternal life, and that the devil is under their feet. Yet their lives hardly reflect the elevated status they claim to be at. They are not different from those who do not claim to know God, and often times, they are far worse than them.

Grace_5The grace of God has been reduced to a badge of honor for far too many Christians. It is their assurance of eternal life with Jesus Himself, because they recall the day they accepted Him as Lord, or are constantly reminded of such by their favorite preacher. But how can one pride himself in having understood what Christ has accomplished on the cross? Humility, not pride is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Pride, regardless of the domain, is sin, even if it is in regards to who we are today. Because they think they have understood the message of grace, they “rest” in the finished works of Christ, and admire, as under a spell, their “new found identity” in Christ. Yet, they hardly acquaint themselves with the very person they call Lord, and are oblivious to His constant call to join Him in the great work for the Kingdom. They forget that with much suffering and afflictions were the pages of the New Testament written. Peter, Paul, John, and the other apostles all sacrificed much of their life so that the grace of God will be preached and lived.
In their letter to the Galatians, Paul gave us a glimpse of the fight he and his companions had to wage to protect the preaching of Christ, the grace of God. Jude, Peter, John all did the same. Who told us that the fight was over? Why aren’t we picking up our own cross as they did and follow in their footsteps, as they followed in Christ’s? We are hardly ready to lift a finger for our Lord, and that as long as it is not an inconvenience for us. And God forbid if we have to suffer for it. How low have we fallen!

The passages of scriptures that warn us against false teachings, and against living according to our former nature are systematically overlooked. No one wants to hear those warnings. Oh that we will not dare confront a brother or sister, preferring instead to focus on the “goodness of God”, for that approach is “more effective in bringing someone to repentance”, so we say. Should we now teach God? The saying goes that if the message does not make me feel good, then it must not be the gospel. Oh, what a deception from hell, what a disgrace to our Lord and to our God. Should not a loving Father warn and correct His children. Read the Old testament, and see how God dealt severely with Israel. Was it because He hated them, or because He loved them? Has God changed? Could Israel have survived as a nation if God had not dealt with it as a loving Father, blessing every time, but also disciplining when necessary?  Grace_2Why do you suppose Israel kept killing all the true prophets? Was it not because they were offended at their words? Have you read the words of Christ? Or have you considered why many disciples stop following Him? Would you now teach Jesus because He should have known better than offending many?

Conveniently we forget that the Apostles foretold of the time when people will no longer endure sound doctrine, and will choose instead to listen to those teachers who will tell them what they want to hear. Oh how has the Evil One, that Wicked One blinded the eyes of many my brethren.

What many call the gospel of Grace today is nothing more than a doctrine of demons, coming straight from the gates of Hell. It is a gospel of death and not of life. The Holy Spirit, that great comforter is all but forgotten. He is not disliked, just forgotten. Prayer is but a casual act we do before eating or sleeping, or when we are in distress. No one really cares about the feelings of our Lord. Don’t get me wrong, we sure love everything He did, and admire Him for who He is. But that does not mean we love Him. Even our genuine feelings for Him are not proof that we love Him. Obeying His voice, as our master, as the head, that is what matters! Have you but considered that He is afflicted? That He knocks on the door to dine with you but you would not open it because you cannot hear. And you cannot hear because you cannot recognize His voice and are too busy with your own affairs? Yet you claim to know Him! He bore our sins so that you and I would be free to obey Him and be in relationship with Him. Of course, He loves you, but don’t you think He is hurt when you would not listen to Him? We pray only to satisfy our personal wishes, and never beg Him to reveal His plans to us? Unlike Peter, we praise Jesus but will only do it from the comfort of the boat and will not dare to come out of it and walk on the water, even at His command. Yet, we claim to love Him.

We claim to know Him, when we should be screaming… “I have not yet taken hold of Christ, as He took hold of me, but I am pressing toward it, Father, help me in my faith for I am weak”. When are we going to wake up my brothers and sisters? When are we going to go on our knees, not because we want a promotion in our job, or success in our business, but because we disparately need Him to work in us so that day after day we will win the battle against our flesh, and grow in union with Him. So that we will be busy with His affairs, and not our own! Have we thought that He and His Father long to see fruits in our lives? God’s Son is the tree and we are the branches; the Father visits us and desires fruits…but far too often He return empty-handed, for all the branches are barren. Grace_3But we refuse to hid the warning that despite His great love and mercy, there comes a time when the Father will remove those branches that do not produce those fruits Him and His Son so long for.

Oh my people that we would repent from our sinful lives, for we are trampling the grace of God under foot. Oh that God would be gracious to us to remove the veil from our eyes. We are blind, and do not know it. The Children of light are walking in darkness, Oh what a tragedy. Where are the Christians? Where are the Sons of the Kingdom? You my brethren are meant to be the light of the world. You are like a prince that knows He is a prince but brings shame to the name by his riotous living.  How can you be that light if you are proud of your status as a Son of God? Is there such thing as a “good” pride? Is pride acceptable here? How can you be that light if you do not carry your cross and your spiritual armor? Will you stand against the devil without the latter?

Oh that you would remember the words of your Lord that those who exalt themselves will be humbled. Or the twenty-four elders in the book of Revelation. Is there a greater position of honor than to be in the inner circle of God Himself? Yet those elders cast their crowns at His foot saying that He (not them) is worthy! Why don’t we call ourselves “unprofitable servants” instead, for this is what the Lord Himself commanded! He did not call us to brag about ourselves but to humble ourselves and see ourselves as unprofitable, even after doing all He would have commanded us. But if we do not even do those things He commands us, then what are we my brothers and sisters? What we are we?

Oh that my Lord will be gracious to us. Father forgive us, forgive me. Give us more faith to live for you Oh Righteous Father. For the sake of Your Son answer my prayer.  Don’t you desire Father to gather fruits from us? But how can we produce them unless your grace comes to us. Be merciful Father and give us a new heart, for the sake of Your Son, our Lord Jesus, King of Kings, Lord or Lords. Amen.    

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