What does take up HIS cross mean?
His is a personal pronoun, might the cross be different for different believers? If this is the case then we better be sure to not envy those who have crosses that we think are lighter than ours. Sometimes the body of Christ gets out of focus. I can look at someone’s lighter cross several ways. I may be stronger than them and can take more, or more likely I have a misconception about what they are really going through. Pride and arrogance can sometimes take the cross out of focus. It may be that I am looking at it through my pain. Regardless I have MY cross to bear and it’s my job to bear it resulting in intimacy with Christ that is mine individually.
Will people who generally reject us take our lives? Not likely, we just feel dejected. They have only the power we give them. Our flesh will make us react to the world’s rejection in ways that are not at all in keeping with what Christ desires for us. We have to forget selfish attitudes where rejection is concerned. No one person, career or status will ever be able to meet all our needs or validate us enough to satisfy the flesh.
Is there any help? Yes, your identity in Christ to the rescue. Who you are when Christ is your life. The eternal perspective of someone who was one dead but is now alive. That’s the deal with the cross. Jesus didn’t die to make bad people good, he died to bring dead people to life. Abundant life is the heart’s desire of the Savior for our life.
1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Keep your heart on kingdom things. This may seem like the kind of advice that we have a pat rebuttal of (but you don’t know my circumstances.) Actually. there is no latitude here. It is a take or leave proposition. Take it and you will have a daily walk that Christ intended for you. Leave it and you will always live in fear, doubt, insecurity, and worst of all in an insatiable flesh that will rob you of your peace and joy. Because you are part of the new life that Christ rose from the dead to give you where should your focus be?
VS 1 The word “if” can also be replaced with the word “because.”
VS 2 Nothing in this world deserves the affection of our flesh, only the next world will satisfy our soul.
VS 3 God filters us through what his Son did for us on the cross. Our old life is dead to God. Don’t play with the past and former things. If you play with dead things you will always stink.
VS 4 The life of Christ in us is the drawing force of our life to his. Think of two magnets taken up together. Their forces join as one. How do we want to appear when Christ returns?
VS 5 Show up in your own life and put any part of it to death that is killing your joy and eternal perspective. Mortify means to put to death.
VS 6 If it would bring God’s judgmental wrath it has to go.
Vs 7 Who are qualified to take this path in life? Anyone who wants to go from death to life.
VS 8 God is so thorough, he gives us the list because we are sheep who need lists. Things listed here are fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Matthew Henry’s commentary summarizes this section in a way that is very enlightening and far more applicable than I could.
“an inordinate love of present good and outward enjoyments, which proceeds from too high a value in the mind, puts upon too eager a pursuit, hinders the proper use and enjoyment of them, and creates anxious fear and immoderate sorrow for the loss of them. Observe, Covetousness is spiritual idolatry: it is the giving of that love and regard to worldly wealth which are due to God only, and carries a greater degree of malignity in it, and is more highly provoking to God, than is commonly thought. And it is very observable that among all the instances of sin which good men are recorded in the scripture to have fallen into (and there is scarcely any but some or other, in one or other part of their life, have fallen into) there is no instance in all the scripture of any good man charged with covetousness.”
VS 9 Lying, huge topic, don’t lie with your heart, mind or soul. Be honest in how you feel, let your face match your words and let your actions match what you say.
VS 10 Get the old out of the way so you can have the new. Die to the old person, that’s not how the Father would have created you! He says he brings life, peace and joy. If he brings it then whatever it takes to be that person and let the dead stuff go will also bring it for you.
VS 11 Nothing on the outside matters. God sees beyond labels and race. God sees hearts.
VS 12 Again, God being clear to paint us a picture of what it looks like. I know for me without humility none of this is possible. I have to yield and go deep to get this. List the things we are to get rid of in our lives. Do any look familiar? Remember that “getting rid of” is killing off. Don’t resurrect the dead! Let this soak in and have fun with seeing yourself a whole new way-His LIFE. We over value many things in life especially the relationships we have with loved ones. They are important but the power they gain in our lives is not in keeping with having Jesus first. That causes distraction from Him. The rest of the chapter in Colossians gives practical helps to daily putting on the new man. I challenge you to list them.
VS 13 LET IT GO. There is nothing anyone in this life can do that matches the suffering Jesus did on the Cross and that matches the gift of the Cross. Offenses will always happen but we do not have to choose to be offended. Regardless of what has happened to us, it is the best way to live. Let it GO!
VS 14 Charity=love. LOVE is the greatest according to God among faith and hope. Bathe in God’s glorious love. It covers a multitude of sins and washes away fear.
VS 15 The love proceeds the peace. If you can’t love you can’t be peaceful.
VS 16 All of the above creates fertile soil for God’s intended life for your soul.
*****Thought: Is it a rejection of Christ to think otherwise? *******