Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Matthew 16:24-28 "Cross Carrying"

Read Matthew 16:24-28.

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." NIV
Have you made your "to do" list for today? If you are like me, you've at least mentally thought through what you are going to do today. So tell me, did you consult the Lord first? Okay, granted, there are things I don't think we need to ask Him about - i.e. showering, take the kids to school, go to work, etc. There are things we must do to live and exist in this world. But there are little and big "appointments" throughout our day that we may or may not plan where God has a special purpose for us. It could be as small as stopping to have a conversation with your neighbor at the mailbox to hopping on a plane to as big as a job change. God works in the little and big things of our lives. The question is are you ready?

How do we prepare for God's redirects to our plans? Well, I think the very beginning is to commit every day to do whatever He calls you to do. My husband has developed a wonderful habit of rolling out of bed right to His knees and spending a minute of committing His day to the Lord - wherever He may take him. That is about as close to physically taking up our cross daily as you can get. The cross is a symbol of death and punishment. By carrying our cross, we are dead men and women walking. If I am dead to myself and acknowledging that I am only alive in Jesus Christ, then I will submit to the Father's leading in my life - WHATEVER that may be.

After we have surrendered -- again -- our life to His leading, we must continually remind ourselves throughout the day's distractions that we are committed to following God's plan. I've mentioned this before in another post, but a friend recommended setting your electronic calendar to reminder you every few hours to stop and acknowledge God. I set my phone to give me a simple reminder tone at 10:00, 1:00, 4:00 and 7:00. When I hear that tone, I stop what I'm doing and focus on the Lord. This simple action reboots my mind toward Him. My goal is that 1) I don't need the alarm anymore. It's automatic. and 2) That someday, my mind would be in constant communion with Him. I don't even know if that is possible with all the chaos and activity of life. But I sure desire to be in that place. At least, if He wants to "interrupt" what I am doing, I want to always hear His voice to change directions.

We are here as servants of the Most High. Like a king's servant responds immediately to the summons of their master, we must be ready at all times to answer the call of our Lord. We must completely surrender our desires and schedules to His plans for our life. It's the only path a dead man can walk.

Further Thoughts:
  1. Have you died to self and accepted the path that God has laid out for you? Then do it again. We must take up our cross daily to follow Him. See Luke 9:23.
  2. If you are a believer, Christ lives in you. His Holy Spirit guides you and gives you counsel. Are you ignoring your closest resident for the pull of all those others around you? How do you pay closer attention to the Father's leading in your life? What habits do you need to form or get rid of? (Add prayer times, get off the computer, for example.)

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