"If a man wishes to come after Me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and follow in My steps." —Mark 8:34
To be Jesus' disciples, we must both deny ourselves and accept the cross. Denial is never an end in itself, but is for the purpose of accepting something. Acceptance is impossible without denial. For example, accepting a life of selfishness means denying the cross and vice versa. Many Christians try to deceive themselves into thinking they have accepted Jesus' cross, although they have not denied the world. However, at the cross we are crucified to the world and the world to us (Gal 6:14). Cross-accepting always requires self-denial, world-denial, and sin-denial. The self-realization of the world is cross-rejection.
Compromise with the worldly system which ignores Jesus' lordship is not merely refusing to accept the cross, but deciding to become an "enemy of the cross" (see Phil 3:18). Consequently, the cross is either a stumbling block and absurdity or the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23-24). There is no in-between. As the popular hymn says, "The cross before us, the world behind us."
Prayer: Father, may I boast of nothing but the cross (Gal 6:14).
Promise: "The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning He opens my ear that I may hear." —Is 50:4
Praise: "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world."
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Crucified to the World on audio AV 40A-3 or video V-40A.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 30, 2012
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