Bible Ballistics: Vol. 7 No. 13 How Big Is Your Cross???
“I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live;
yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live
in the flesh
I live by the faith
of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
One of my favorite verses in all of scripture reminds us that when we belong to Jesus we identify with His crucifixion and resurrection. It also reminds us that our power is from the Lord Jesus Christ, and our willingness to walk with Him according to His power and His Spirit.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
We are called to “walk in the Spirit”, the Holy Spirit that is given to every believer, and to order our steps according to His directing. Jesus promised that the work of the Holy Spirit would include revealing Jesus and His truth to us, not just the written word and understanding it, but the power to discern the truth in His Word, applying it to our day-to-day living.
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come,
he will guide you into all truth:
for he shall not speak of himself;
but whatsoever he shall hear,
that shall he speak:
and he will shew you things to come.
14 He shall glorify me:
for he shall receive of mine,
and shall shew it unto you.” John 16:13-14
Jesus provides all that we need to live for Him, even as Peter shared in his first letter, preparing believers to endure suffering:
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:3-4
And how have we escaped the “corruption that is in the world through lust”? Only one way, and that’s through the blood of Jesus—the one and only way to God, brought to us through the blood of Jesus which saves us from sin, it’s what HE came to do.
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
And praise God He did just that, with His life’s blood on the cross, and that is why I am devoted to the cross. But let’s consider the title of this article, “How Big Is Your Cross?” The cross was an inanimate object of a particular size, yet we are to live in relation to that cross, and what it signifies to us. In order to do that we must remain close to that very cross.
I borrowed this title from a Bible Study that I attended many years ago at a Ladies Retreat. The lady who taught the class used this title, and had a lovely mural posted in the room with dozens of crosses. But the thing that was so stunning and caused me to remember it was that all the crosses were in declining sizes. There was a large cross and then the crosses became smaller and smaller as they were farther and farther from the original cross. And as she taught the lesson, she directed our attention to the cross and the need to stay close to it—where I am in relation to the cross will determine how big “MY” cross is. It will determine who I am in every aspect of life—the cross will either pervade my life, as I remain close to it and experience it’s effect on my heart, or I can allow life to diminish my ardor in direct proportion to the distance I allow to come between me and the Lord of the cross. If I am “crucified with Christ” then I will draw near to Him and the cross every day and in every way. There is no “idle” in the Christian life, we are either going forward in our faith or loosing ground.
“I am the vine,
ye are the branches:
He that abideth in me,
and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit:
for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5
It’s all about Jesus and staying connected to Him. That’s one reason Satan works so hard to keep us distracted from our Lord and running in the flesh instead of the “Spirit”! So today we want to search God’s Word ways that we can keep our “eyes on Jesus”, and to continually keep the “cross” in view!
“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,
and given him a name
which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
of things in heaven,
and things in earth,
and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11
There is so much packed into this marvelous passage, but the thing I want us to take note of today is that Jesus made Himself a servant and we are called to think the same way. As Paul said:
“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus”
We must yield ourselves to the one that we claim as “Lord”—for He is “Lord” of all!!! He is “Lord” of me!!! And that is a continuing work in our walk of faith.
“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16
“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” Philippians 1:27
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” 1 Peter 1:13
So, what do we learn from these scriptures? We are to keep our hearts and minds fixed on Jesus, by letting the mind of Christ rule within us, since we have the “mind of Christ” through the Holy Spirit. We are to stand fast in “one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”—to have single-minded purpose together for the “faith of the gospel”, not any selfish interest!
And how do we accomplish that task? As Peter tells us, we are to “gird up the loins of your mind”, keeping our minds set on the cross, and being “sober”, which is not simply a reference to refraining from alcoholic consumption, but a call to have committed, clear focus on Jesus, much like Paul commands us in Ephesians 5:17-19:
“Wherefore be ye not unwise,
but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
18 And be not drunk with wine,
wherein is excess;
but be filled with the Spirit;
19 Speaking to yourselves
and spiritual songs,
and making melody
in your heart
to the Lord;”
We are to be wise and devoted to, as well as yielded to, the “will of the Lord”, and taking note of Paul’s example of being filled with the Spirit, meaning to be controlled or pervaded by the Spirit rather than be controlled or pervaded by external or internal agents, i.e. alcohol, drugs, passions, or material drives, etc. We are to direct our hearts and minds toward the things of God—and praise music is a wonderful way to focus on Jesus. And we also have the commission to make wise choices, by keeping our eyes on Jesus, making sure our hearts don’t become distracted from the “cross” or the one who gave Himself to save us from our sins on that cross.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience
the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus
of our faith;
who for the joy
that was set before him
endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down
at the right hand
of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
We are to lay aside the heaviness of life, and the sin which “doth so easily beset us” by “Looking unto Jesus” in all we do, or as the NASB says “fixing our eyes on Jesus”! Our responsibility is to keep ourselves “Near The Cross”:
“1. Jesus, keep me near the cross;
there a precious fountain,
free to all, a healing stream,
flows from Calvary’s mountain.
In the cross, in the cross,
be my glory ever,
till my raptured soul shall find
rest beyond the river.
2. Near the cross, a trembling soul,
love and mercy found me;
there the bright and morning star
sheds its beams around me.
3. Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
bring its scenes before me;
help me walk from day to day
with its shadow o’er me.
4. Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
hoping, trusting ever,
till I reach the golden strand
just beyond the river.
Words by Fanny Crosby
Music by William H. Doane
Have a blessed week “Near” your cross, and may the Lord grow us in His grace and truth with “its shadow o’er me”! How big is YOUR cross? A question that only YOU can answer!