One of the most bizarre notions in the entire universe is also one of the most important doctrines of Christianity. It’s the idea of a new identity.
The over-abundance of self-help books, ‘inspirational’ seminars and ‘inner-peace’ tapes/CD’s only begin to show our human obsession with life change. We want it. We crave it. We need it. We know something is wrong inside of us, and we will try anything to make it better.
Unlike the comforting, feel-good, wholeness, positive message of these mediums, the message of the Cross is offensive. The Cross doesn’t hide our weakness, but painfully exposes it. The Cross doesn’t try to fix our broken lives, but ends them! In the book, Grace Walk, Steve McVey rightly points out that we don’t get our lives changed, but get them ex-changed!
At times we forget that the Empty Tomb and the wonderful promises of newness of life come only after the Cross and it’s shame. Humanity would love to have the power of the Empty Tomb, but is too proud to humble itself to bow to the Cross. Take a fresh look at the following verses:
Jesus in Luke 14:27, “The man who will not take up his cross and follow in my footsteps cannot be my disciple.” – (Phillips)
Jesus in Mark 8:35, “Whoever wants to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall save it.” – (New American Standard)
The Apostle Paul in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me; and the life which I now live in the body I live through faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up to death on my behalf” – (Weymouth)
Paul in 2 Timothy 2:11, “This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.” – (New King James)
This dying is not a once in a lifetime occurance, either! For God’s life and power to flow through us, we must take Jesus’ advice in this last verse:
Luke 9:23, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” – (King James Version)