Before I start writing this post, I need to point something out rather quick. I was at work today pondering over what I am going to write about in this post, and I came to an eye-opening conclusion from a question that came from a conversation with my dad about living radically for Christ. The question was: What is truly radical about being obedient to God's will? It is not radical. It should be normal to the Christian. If you are passionately pursuing Christ with your all, being obedient to God's will should be rather normal to you. "Radical" is a term coined by the social media and others, who do not conform to a Biblical worldview. They do not understand why some Christians leave a life of wealth, health, and prosperity in order to "give up" their lives per se by preaching the Gospel to others in the deepest parts of Africa. It does not make any sense to them whatsoever, but it should make clear sense to us Christians. Our job is to follow Christ's example by being obedient to His will. And, is that radical? No, my friends, that is called normal.
Now, since I got that off my chest, we will continue looking at Luke 14:27 with the second extension I mentioned in Part 2. Luke 14:27 says, "Whoever does not bear His own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." In Part 2, we looked at the broader picture in terms of our choices and actions having direct consequences when embracing God's will or our own self-will. This time we will dig into what bearing our cross means in regards to staving off our own flesh. What does it mean to bear the (your own) cross? It primarily means to embrace God's will no matter the cost. What is God's will? We find many instances in Scripture where God talks about what His will is for our lives. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 gives us the best example.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 says, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you."
Straight out in verse 3, God tells us what His will is. His will is your sanctification that you abstain from sexual immorality. Now, I want to stop right here for a second. If we yearn to live a radical, "normal" in our own biblical sense, life for Christ, we need to constantly kill the flesh. We need to weaken our flesh like no other. Our own fleshly desires are against us and after us. A great analogy for the flesh is a weed. If you give a weed the opportunity to sprout up and let it grow unaccounted for, it can grow pretty big rather fast. Am I the only one who does not like pulling out weeds? When weeds grow big, it is a lot more difficult digging out the weeds to destroy the roots than it is when grappling with smaller weeds. Our flesh is the same way. If we start feeding our flesh with unaccounted for junk like pornography or alcoholism, it only grows bigger and it becomes more difficult to destroy. That is why Paul urges us in Romans 13:14 to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires. Make NO PROVISION for the flesh. Weaken, kill, destroy your fleshly desires at any and all costs. You will be glad you did.
Now, God's will for us is to sanctify ourselves in truth. For Jesus Christ is truth (John 14:6) and His will for us is to be sanctified (1 Thess. 4:3), His will is that we adorn ourselves with truth. The process of sanctification begins with and ends with understanding truth. If we are not pondering the facets of truth on a consistent basis, we will ultimately fall and look to feed our flesh to fulfill us. And, Paul's warning in Romans tells us to make no provision for the flesh, so I am pleading with you guys to shower yourselves with truth. Jesus Christ is truth. Envelop yourselves with Him, His birth, His teachings, His acts of mercy and kindness, His death, and His resurrection. Constantly make the Scriptures a part of your daily morning routine, and continue to refresh yourselves with truth throughout the day. Memorization is a good way to powder truth into your brain by refreshing yourself with Scripture throughout the day.
When you start doing these things, you will begin to see your flesh weaken with each passing day as the Holy Spirit begins to take full control of your life. Your passion and zeal for God will grow stronger, your love for God and the Body of Christ will grow to new heights, your desires for the flesh will wane, and you will be living proof that God, the creator of all truth, changed your life; so you could solely live "radically" for Him. This is what bearing our cross means.
Sola Deo Gloria!!!!