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The Premium of the Cross

Published on

February 21, 2022

One of the delusions the devil dangles before the eyes of people is that the cross is akin to the grave.

What he tells them is that both the cross and the grave leads to the same kind of death. That’s the lie he peddles that keeps unbelievers outside the gates of salvation afraid of and solely fixated on what they might lose when they find Jesus and how they would cease to exist, essentially dying to all they knew, loved and believed was the very essence of who they were. Worse, his lies doesn’t stop with unbelievers, he also sells this deceptive ideology to believers making them skirt around and dance at the gates of salvation refusing to plunge deep and embrace salvation to the fullest extent possible.

A quick survey of people’s understanding of the cross would reveal that for most, the cross is only explained relative to Christ and the extent to which we are included in the cross conversation is to the extent that we are beneficiaries of that notable event. The uncommon responses are those that include the Christian as an active participant in the cross experience. Yet, we see Jesus throw out an open invitation saying if anyone would follow Him, he has to take up his cross.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. — Matthew 16:24 KJV

The goal of followership is to be like the person that is being followed. The intent of being a follower of a person is to facilitate some transference of traits or character that is believed can only be gotten through close proximity and understudy. Jesus was saying that access into the followership community is by bearing our personal crosses. Embracing the cross is the cost of inclusion and Jesus is not dismissive about this at all. Eternal life and the experience of becoming fully like Christ waits at the other end for the person that would take up his cross. Not just do a touch and go, but that would carry it, perpetually bearing it upon his shoulders as he journeys through faith.

Of course, the Jews understood that identification with the cross is embracing a curse, it’s sort of losing goodwill to the world. You cannot bear up a cross and in the same breadth be good pals with the world. And seemingly that’s probably all they thought this God-sent guy has come to tell them; to follow you I need to openly disclose my enmity with the world. It’s was a bold and clear statement.

And it’s in this valley of consideration that the enemy tends to play and pitch his tent, he keeps us wondering now that I am shut out to the world, where do I go? Why is this God so wicked cutting me out of the life I used to know.. Now I am an outcast with nowhere to go. He tries to drown them in the fear of the unknown so that they drop the cross to win the favour of the world. But that’s just because he blinds them to the entire picture.

The cross is not an act of wickedness, it’s a response of love and devotion. So Jesus was essentially saying if you desire me enough you must pick up your cross and follow me. You picking up your cross is telling the world that you have chosen me and it’s an exclusive relationship. But it doesn’t stop there, the acts of the cross brokers a level of holiness and sanctification in you that opens you up to see God. This is so assuring.

It is a vital link between the revelation of the love of God and the experience of resurrecting power. The cross is the bedrock and gateway of all Christian experience. Whatever is in you that is not allowed and verified by the cross is a hindrance to experiencing eternal life. As a corn of wheat, you must necessarily fall to the ground, be buried to get a chance at a higher level productivity, fruitfulness and vigour

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. — John 12:24 KJV

One of the interesting things I wonder about is why even with His glorified body, Jesus left the nails in his hands and on his feet. The cross is an integral part of the salvation experience. The farther you go the higher the number of dead bodies that lay upon your altar of crucifixion.

Friend, I tell you, the cross is not the grave. There is no guarantee of the resurrection from the grave for those who have not experienced and embraced the cross. Acts of the cross puts your flesh to death so that the life in your spirit can be experienced in your reality.

Another picture that intrigues me is the loving relationship between a gardener and his prized flower. Every morning he awakes and steps out, with his pruning shears in hand, his first stop before any other is this cherished plant .

He starts by gazing at it with beams of smiles on his face, he strokes his hands through the stalks and feels the texture of its petals. One would think that’s the end, but no, he proceeds to lift his pruning shears. The flower would cry at the discomforting experience of every cut, every snipping away, but through the pain the flower smiles because it knows that the gardener is going to leave it more beautiful than before. It knows that with every of those cuts, a more beautiful and representative version is going to emerge. Oh what a joy!

Both the cross and the grave have pain associated. But tell me which one you’ll rather pick, a short term pain that yields a life of joy and peace or a pain that’s delayed but lingers forever and forever. In the grand scheme of things, it’s the quality of life you get in eternity that should matter.

Jesus says a self triggered loss of life puts you on queue to receive a grade of life far higher than what’s obtainable in this realm.

Self denial is a key element of the salvation walk. There’s a supply of God’s Spirit that is ready to be released at the altar of salvation, some available stature and capacity awaiting the one that chooses to mortify some of his members.

What are the base elements of the cross? What are the sticks and the nails? They are the tripod legs of desire kept aflame on the altar of devotion, awareness fuelled by the study of God’s word and yieldedness to the Spirit and an understanding of the love of God that can only be fuelled by the Holy Spirit.

So today I encourage you, always be on the look out for mortification triggers, like the prized flower, be ready to submit yourself at the altar and like David, never tire to ask the Holy Ghost to search you, discover anything contrary and lead you on the everlasting path.

Have a blessed week ahead!

Olayinka Adebayo

@layinkadebayo

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