Neither intellectual knowledge nor theology is the means the Lord has given us to grow spiritually. The church mistake was to try to produce spiritual men and women through teachings and Bible schools. If it is very clear that Bible study is a good thing in itself, it cannot replace the way of the cross to lead us to maturity.
In Matthew 5:7, Jesus teaches us a new way of living that demands death to ourselves and denial of our own rights. So, for example, instead of hating our enemies, He asks us to love them. You will confess me that it’s the opposite of the reactions and desires of our carnal nature!
Accepting to lose our lives, to strip ourselves of our old nature, is the way to live a life of victory and holiness. As the apostle Paul reminds, the Christian is called to crucify his flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24), which will lead him to become like Christ, and enable him to bear his life (Galatians 2:20).
Ultimately, there is no way to spiritual maturity if you are not willing to lose your life in exchange for Christ’s.
Jesus illustrated death to himself and the life that comes from it in the image of a grain of wheat. Having announced that the time for Him to be glorified has come, He said to His disciples, “If a grain of wheat falls to the ground and does not die, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. ” (John 12:24). He wanted to talk about his own death and resurrection, but also about the disciples’ life after his resurrection.
Taking up their cross would be the only way they could communicate the life of Jesus. The cross is death to our desires, to our fleshly passions, to our plans, to our ambitions. It’s an exchange of our lives for Christ’s, because we must first die before participating in the resurrection life.
We are all called to go through trials, tests, difficult times in our Christian life. We shall face challenges, sufferings, persecutions and confrontations. It is our attitude in these different situations that will determine whether we are going to grow and grow in the Lord, or remain a spiritually child. If we are willing to take up our cross and face it in faith, we will allow God to break and shape us. The result of this walk will be the manifestation of the life of Jesus in us.
Post by Miki Hardy