By Chip Brogden
How Do You Take Up the Cross?
In our daily lives, we come up against situations that we cannot overcome in our own strength, or with our own wisdom. We need a strength and a wisdom that come from above, that come from beyond, that come from another outside of us, and yet rise up from within us.
If you are truly born-again, then you have experienced this at least once in your life, in at least one area of your life. At least once you recognized your inability to save yourself, and so you surrendered to Christ and trusted Jesus to do in you and through you what you could not do on your own. That surrender was, in essence, “taking up the Cross” with respect to your salvation. I cannot save myself; and since I cannot, I will not. I will only trust in the Life of the Lord to do what I have (at last!) learned that I cannot do. This is what is means to “embrace the Cross” in the area of salvation. And we see that when the death to Self is thorough and complete — that is, when we stop trying to save ourselves and cast ourselves upon the grace of God, then God raises us from the dead. That which was impossible before is now accomplished by God. We are thankful recipients of His grace, and He receives all the praise and the glory since we have done nothing and He has done everything. This is the principle of the Cross.
It does not matter what your situation is; the Cross is sufficient. If the Cross is the power of God for your salvation, then the Cross is also the power of God for your relationships, your spiritual growth and development, your life’s purpose, your encouragement and strength, and your victory over everything which hinders and distracts and comes against you. At one time in your life you learned you could not save yourself — that was the work of the Cross. Now, accept the work of the Cross and learn that just as you could not save yourself, neither can you love God, love your neighbor, forgive those who have sinned against you, cast out devils, be a bold witness for Christ, or fulfill your destiny through your own strength. Just as you once relied upon Christ to save you, so now you must rely upon Christ to live through you every day. Just as you continually rely upon Christ for salvation, so you must continually rely upon Christ for everything else.
If you can admit defeat, if you can surrender yourself over to God in the area of “salvation,” then you can (and should) do the same thing in every other area of your life. Walk in Him as you received Him: by unconditionally surrendering to His will, His purpose, His power, His lordship. Embrace the Cross! The sooner the better!
When we cease doing what we cannot do, then He begins to do what we cannot. This is the fruit produced by those who are truly born again. Our works are not religious works at all, they are simply the works of Him Who now lives in us. When we cease struggling and surrender to crucifixion, then He comes forth in power and glory to raise us from the dead. This is what it means to be a Christian and a disciple of Jesus.