The Call to Take Up Your Cross
Greetings dear ones,
My heart has been burdened by some things I see, primarily in the “westernized” church. I recall when I got saved way back in 1974, it seemed the church was on fire. I was a brand new believer, but so radically changed by Jesus and his grace. I had a friend at work who was a believer and got “wind” of the news that I had gotten saved – mostly because I was telling ALL my friends at work what had happened to me! No one had to teach me the “four spiritual laws” because it was just coming out of me spontaneously because the Lord had met me in that place on my knees when I surrendered to Him. It was REAL! So, my friend took me immediately that next Sunday to her church – it was not a church building but a group of passionate believers meeting in the pastor’s basement as many churches did in the 70’s. I look back on those days, sometimes longing that we could return to that place of simplicity and wonder at the saving power of our Lord, to worship him in simplicity but in sincerity. It was truly wonderful, and believers’ hearts were truly knit together.
Fast forward 45 years…today I groan within when all I hear mostly is “you can have your best life now” and “God wants you to prosper” and on and on. The church has become “me” centered – “what can you do for me God?” Long gone are the days when we would meet in the middle of the week and look forward to being together, to worship, to hear the Word, to see each other. Now, you enter a gigantic mega church that has 4 or 5 services on Sunday (none during the week) and you are herded in and herded out for the next service. That means there will be 2.5 worship songs, turn around and greet each other, then listen to a sermon that appeals to the flesh of man and mentions nothing about suffering and taking up our cross. BUT this is what Jesus preached and taught.
Knowing and serving Jesus, being a disciple and follower means we will suffer because we belong to him. How do we suffer? We suffer every time we choose to deny the flesh, every time we chose to walk in humility, every time we chose to NOT defend ourselves, every time we refuse to promote our cause, our name or our work. We suffer in the flesh!!! Because the flesh wants to be number 1!!! But as servants of Jesus, we must deny all of this – we must be willing to surrender ALL and allow Him to work His holiness in us. Of course, this is done by GRACE and grace alone – but we must surrender and be willing…that is the key – the willingness of our hearts to say YES to him in all areas.
Today the Instagram accounts of some well-known pastor’s wives look just like Beyonce’s account!! You may say “wait don’t judge” BUT we are admonished in the word to judge RIGHTEOUS judgments. Which means if our hearts are inclined to the Word of God – when we see words and actions that do not line up with that truth, we MUST speak out as the Lord graces us to do so. We must speak the truth in love and defend righteousness and truth. This is what is now missing from many American churches – the truth of the Word of God and complete surrender to follow it at all costs. This is NOT a work in the flesh but a response of a heart that desires Jesus and Jesus alone.
Let us return in humility to the truth of God’s word, let us pray for grace, wisdom and understanding as well as boldness to walk in His truth, His light and His righteousness.
If we pray and ask with a willing heart – He is faithful to respond!!!
God bless you all!!
In Jesus name,
Linda A Lyles