Take Up Thy Cross

There's an old hymn that has a stanza that goes, "I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown".

We are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him. (ref. Luke 9:23; Mark 8:34; and Matt 6:24)

What is being expressed here? Does this mean that we are to expect to be pampered and made into god-like personages showered with unimaginable wealth and comforts as the health and wealth preachers play the huckster upon us?   ...and can we expect such riches and reward just because we said a two minute prayer and "became Christians" (as so many today seem to feel it should work)?

It's almost as if the antinomian and lukewarm Christians of such churches are saying, 
"I no longer have to act like a Christian...   because now I am one."


Anyway, the point I am trying to make with this one today, is not for those who are yet lukewarm in these times and seem bound and determined to stay in their present stagnant positions, wanting to find every loophole in the world to avoid being obedient to the Scriptures (because it seems that their chance to repent and be saved may already be long gone anyway, much like it was in Noah's day...) but I am more so focusing on those who are still somewhat trying, but perhaps not thinking it through enough to be able to grasp just how serious this image is that Yeshua is actually trying to convey in that passage above.  It's a matter of better understanding the attitude in what the song's lyrics are saying as well, which is basically that now we toil tirelessly in carrying our burdons in our passion to advance the Father's Will, and doing so to the benefit of others, that we certainly might not pass that burdon on to them, that we might all be rewarded later, when we are found worthy upon the resurrection, and where the rewards will be so plentious that none will be going without, who also had victory with us....    Yet even many who are only half-heartedly trying to follow Him, are not giving it their best, and it seems that its very likely that they do not yet realize the implications in this passage, and may even fall further short in their lax enthusiasm towards how much or how often they should be "sacrificing themselves" as Yeshua did.   -many seem to be just trying to ride on the coat-tails of others around them, but there aren't enough coat-tails to go around for them anymore, so they sit and wonder why there does not seem to be the free ride that they have always been taught that there was all their lives now, and the kettle ie getting hotter and hotter under their backsides in seeing this world coming to a close.   hmmmm.

When the Messiah says, "deny thyself", He's saying, that we should expect to do without in a lot of the things that we may presently be engaged in as sin, or enjoying as luxuries, and even non-essential securities in this life, etc., where we're to basically "downsize" our lives into the most accomplished purity of a complete trust in YHWH and His provisions as possible.  We should be expecting nothing but the privaledge and honor of walking in the very same purity of faith that Yeshua walked, so that every ounce of our concentration and energies can then be expended on advancing the kingdom of YHWH and His kingdom only, being His ways of the perfect law of love in this world according to His laws and gospel.  He then says, "take up thy cross daily", meaning far more than in just feeling it to be their cross when they merely get dressed and go to church for an hour a week, but He meant this in very prominent and constant ways in our living the same example of a life that He lived.  And which ways would that be in particular?  Well, He then said to "follow Him".   So in other words, do as He did.   Did He or the apostles have fancy chariots?  Did they have opulent homes, or sometimes even two or more homes?  did they wear designer suits, gowns, fine jewelry, enjoy frequent dinners at nice restaurants, work two jobs to make sure they had the nicest things in town?  Did they even just have it recorded that they had ample purses and supplies to take along with them in their having been sent out to preach this message of YHWH's kingdom (governance) to the whole world?  No. As Yeshua Himself gave the example, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." (Luke 9:58) 

If we are worrying everyday about how to make the payments on a house that we even know deep down inside is far too big for us anyway, remember that in the early chapters of the book of Acts, many who were following the apostles even sold their homes outright and laid the money at the apostle's feet, sharing everything they had left with those who were less fortunate, and contributing to help the apostles advance the Messiah's kingdom of governance, these trusting believers having had that much of a faith in hearing about that kingdom--a kingdom that they knew would benefit all who were upright in the long run.  The compassion of these early believers being expressed out of a true love for one another, being the diametric we should also be seeing exploding all around us in similar responsible popularity just as it was in the apostle's time, rather than the wealth, selfishness, and complacency gospel of today's fearful captives who "trust in oppression and stay thereon".  But today, many are being so materialistic and greedy that they are even seemingly making it their religion in finding ways to keep and hoard every last item of security and comfort they can get theior hnds on, using the excuse that they "will need it all to survive whatever is coming", etc. (as if they had no god at all to provide for them).  Is this true faith?  Or is this nothing new under the sun for these folks and nothing but their old nature continuing in the way of the heathen world?  But I think you can see what I am trying to say.

Now lets cut to the chase of my point in wanting to post this page, which is this:

When the more serious of us sing that song, "The Old Rugged Cross", we sing it with the reality of mind that the cross is our expected responsible duty in our great commission calling, where we even go as far as to yes, cling to it!  The faithful believers of days gone by that wrote those lines sang it in a way that they were embracing that great commission duty with a true passion!  Where they can only sing such a commitment with such passion if they truly have the faith that their Father will never let them down, and thereby have a complete trust that someday, upon our having achieved "victory over the beast", and the Messiah is come in His glory (that we should ALL have so much faith in waiting for...) that we will then be rewarded and "paid" for all our labours.  It is not the other way around, as so many today seem to be learning and teaching a corrupt materialistic, "name it and claim it", live now, pay later, Churchianity.

Here's an interesting way to see this:

Our great commision (job) is to be done first, then we are to get our reward (or "pay").  Yet most people today want their "pay" (for not even doing their jobs of spreading the gospel and rebuking sin, but for merly "being a Christian") and they even want it up front now.  I'm sure you know some of these people, as there are many of them that have been trained into falling for such "me first" expectations.  Yet Father did not make such an offer.  His presented covenant with us was that if we seek Him and repent of our ways first ("Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of YHWH and His righteousness", including leaving all of our own sins of coveteousness and greed behind as well of course, that is, "born again"), that through Yeshua's blood, we might then hope to be saved and upon having proven ourselves to have had victory over the beast and have cleansed ourselves from any previous sin, and then like Revelation chapter 22 says, at the coming of Yeshua, be rewarded for our having walked a life of purity, and that entails walking obediently under the sovereign direction and righteousness of the Father in Heaven.  The work/pay sequence is even mentioned in giving the worker his wages "at his day" (Deuteronomy 24:14,15; the end of the day), after he has completed his work (and again, faith without works is dead too, remember? James ch 2)   

So again, the Father can't "pay" us now with anything more than providing us with the basics that His perfect Will knows that we truly need, in order to most efficiently carry out our duties, or at least not given us until we learn and grow in great irreversible ways in our trustworthiness and tasks.  But who WOULD "pay" such people for coveting more than they need (and...  in return for merely holding their hands out because they're now Christians)?  That's right satan will help them to feel that they have plateaued where they needn't go any higher in their goals as a believer, where they have wonderfully earned great mountains of riches, and should be rewarded much more in the here and now!  

Romans 8:17  tells us that we are to be joint heirs with Yeshua in accepting His crown.  It says, "[we are] joint heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."  Has Yeshua been glorified yet?  Well, if not, then how do so many feel that they are allowed to just sit back as kings and relax, rather than continue (or even to merely start) taking up their crosses along with Him, themselves thinking that they can just ignore that part about suffering along with those who refuse to compromise, themselves wanting to be glorified before the Savior's own time of glory?  Even retirement is a device of the devil, as all of the prophets and apostles that we read about preached till their last days in pretty much every example we can find.  There is no mention of anything like a retirement in the Bible, so how can we find any excuse to slack off from carrying our crosses like so many are doing today?  Remember you law experts out there, it has a stipilation that says, "if so be that we suffer with him".  Can we somehow rule out that claus my friends?  ...especially ye law-minded types?

SO...  satan is allowing these millions of mind-controlled 'Churchianists' to "get what they got coming to them", and somewhat in a similar way as the prodigal son got "what part befalleth him in his inheritance" from his father that he had also irresponsibly walked away from as well.  The dark one then guides these folks into feeling totally and comfortably justified in staying in their beast couches of comfort and security, or in having "taken their part of the inheritance early" somehow in their own minds, and the devil does his very best to make sure that they never feel any nagging in their hearts as the prodigal son did, in experiencing any true remorse that otherwise might cause them to return in any genuinely apologetic way to their "first love".  He rather keeps them fat and happy the best that he can with what little he and his agents can steal from others (enter the devilishly clever, bribery-based "beast system" here).  Are we now seeing how this all fits together?  How satan has succeeded in getting everyone to expect everyone else to carry their crosses for them?   Satan has produced the most inventive diabolical plan to get the whole world to help him seduce, not just the world's most gullible, but even the least gullible, and in more ways than he has ever come up with before, and its a complete world-wide plan this time, not just a simple tempting of one soul with a single little piece of fruit.  So you see, satan's followers (all of the members that have signed their names on beast covenants for special privaleges or exemptions of one kind or another) are very proud of him, as he's come a long way, and has found thousands of ways for them to feel justified in their many desires!  Why SHOULDN'T they worship him, right?  ...they all get a nice piece of the slavery pie themselves!

Is this not yet another very good example of the "come out from among them" conundrum that so many are yet facing today?  How many have left the beast (denied themselves and have taken up their crosses, that they might not be a burdon to their neighbors), and are willing to wait, to exchange that time of trial for a crown, and...   when the Father sees fit, not ourselves !

"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, 
he also will deny us."    -2Timothy 2:12

So, "Will we cling to the old rugged cross (glorying in our suffering with Him; ref. 2 Cor 12:9,10)? ...or exchange it today for sin's crown (accepting endless beast comforts come of our neighbor's broken backs)?

How much time is left to make such a choice my friends?  Seek Him while He may yet be found.


Here's a very good way to see the seriousness of our responsibility to "take up our cross" in these times:

If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first"
   "You're life and soul are in danger."
   "Shoot the messenger!"
Isn't that basically what happened to Yeshua while here with us?
Isn't that what is also happening to those who are still trying to tell the same exact message today? 
              see also: "The Duty of Purity"