Crossbearing

It seems the preaching of the cross- and now I am referring to your
and my cross if you seek to follow Jesus Christ in any sort of genuine
way- is rather rare.

If one looks through history I suspect we find it no different in any
generation of the church.

Who wants to hear about self-denial, sacrificing of one???s thoughts,
words, choices, time, or life?

In our deepest heart we know Jesus talked about it as a normal,
everyday thing (???must deny him/her self, pick up his/her cross daily
and follow Me???) but honestly, who wants to hear about that?

I am sure this is why we read very little of it in Christian
literature, preaching and teaching and even less in songs whether they
are ???proclamation??? in lyrical scope or even worship and thus more
vertical in focus.

There are elements of self-denial, sometimes only hinted at in the
Psalms but the accent is there. Faithfulness is undeniably linked to
following God regardless of cost. It does seem to me such things are
rarely sung, certainly in terms of much of the worship song lyricism
over the past twenty years.

But as I???ve written in an earlier blog, who seeks pain??! And you???d be
a tad crazy to seek it.

Yet we see in our Lord every indication that His life was ordered,
that each step He took was taken with a full focus and the deepest
regard to -do- the will of God the Father ???even unto death, the death
of the cross??? where He gave all for you and I.

Jesus was indeed ???filled with the Spirit beyond measure???, but quoting
the old King James from memory here, He had ???no form of comeliness
that we would desire Him???. That is to say He was about doing the will
of God in the power of God the Holy Spirit. He was not seeking His own
glory- which in fact He had with the Father before ever coming into
our world via the virgin, rather, He sought to bring glory to the
Father in all He said and did.

I do think personal glory-seeking is one of those on-going temptations
each of us can fall into if we???re not careful. I further think that
personal cross-bearing helps us keep grounded and keeps us
appreciative of grace rather than seeking our own glory or honor.

So let me bring this home with respect to my own life…

In this past week I took a turn along with some twenty or more others
as we do here at JPUSA, doing evening work in our large house. There
are a lot of jobs that are divided up, chosen by all on each team, and
there are about eight work
teams who rotate, each doing one week of household chores, cleaning
and putting things in order in our Christian community. Washing
dishes, emptying the garbage, sweeping, mopping the floors, doing a
thorough clean of our community kitchen and a number of other areas of
service are part of what each work team does.

Not always, but not unusually either, I try to choose a job few others
would. In my case it???s often doing a thorough clean of a community
bathroom.

No issues for me in this really, I just don???t have any aversion to
cleaning powder, bleach and scrubbing toilets. Disposable gloves help.
Understand, I don???t think this makes me holy in the least. But my
point is that THIS isn???t a cross for me.

Sometimes when I get done I just want to sit in front of a laptop or
tv, and I???m often able to do so, but there are times my wife or others
need me to do some small errand or chore.

And -this- is where one of my admittedly little but none-the-less
???crosses??? shows up!

I mean really nothing big- these requests might include one, maybe two
or three little things for me to do before or right after I???ve sat
down. It???s not like I???m being asked to jump up (mostly) right away,
but there???s a point where I???m tired and just want to cool out and sit
slug-like.

THAT is where one of my own little, and indeed I admit, LITTLE crosses enter in.

Real love includes simple serving, doing those little errands, doing a
good thing I did not choose to on my own, taking the unexpected phone
call, the messy ???I need help??? when some of this could wait (and sure,
sometimes should and will until the next day). But it???s at this
juncture I often hear the Lord say ???Get up and do it???: because love
serves.

Not everyone is bothered by such things but I suppose most are.

What I have to laugh at and admit, is that doing what might seem a
bigger job is often not the thing that tempts me to blow off
cross-bearing. It???s those little requests. The ???little foxes???.

So… all this to say that when you hear me talk or sing about dying
to self on some level I???m not normally thinking about martyrdom or big
heroics at all! I???m thinking about getting off the couch and serving
in love with patience and kindness. And I sure need to learn how to do
that with more love and grace than I sometimes do!

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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2 thoughts on “Crossbearing

  1. Good points, may God bless you as you continue to stay focused and seek Him. prov 3:5&6. Just for interest sake I am Ken Reader’s brother. Thanks for your impact and letting God use you in his life. THANKS Your brother in CHRIST Pat Reader.

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