Encouragement for the Brethren: Take Up Your Cross Daily and Follow Jesus

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

I must give credit where it is due.  This morning I was reading the daily devotional from Oswald Chambers in “My Utmost for His Highest”.  This is the verse that Oswald was speaking on.  God showed me by this devotional passage a deeper meaning.  One that ties in with another verse that the Holy Spirit continues to bring to my mind is

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

It is closely related to the verse in Hebrews.  We need each other to achieve what God has called us to accomplish.  Together we are stronger and more effective.

What struck me new this morning is that a large part of a surrendered life is to walk in obedience to God’s commands in His Holy Word.  It isn’t just about blessings, peace, comfort, protection, and provision from God.  It isn’t about what God can do for me today.  It is about what God wants me to do today for Him.  Good deeds in His name that pour out His love on others who need to know Him.  It is spreading His gospel of good news to everyone.

We must meet together to encourage and strengthen each other to stay on the path of God, to keep working and pressing toward the goal of our sanctification, working out our salvation as God is working in us.  Most people, dare I say most Christians have their eyes focused firmly on earthly, temporary things.  Raising their children, getting them into sports, going to work to pay the mortgage, trying to save for college or retirement, having fun on the weekends, taking a vacation, cute clothes, great hair and nails, a nicely decorated house, weight loss, books, tv shows, movies, shopping, cars and trucks, boats, working out, hobbies, pets, etc. Have I stepped on your toes yet?

But that isn’t the primary task of one who has surrendered their life to Jesus Christ as their personal savior.  I see nothing (but raising our children to follow God’s ways) in the above that says any of those things should be on our radar screens of life.  None of it.

And if we are living with this American Dream lifestyle and mindset, exactly how are you raising up your children to know and follow God’s ways?  How does any of the above glorify our Lord and build up His kingdom?  This life is the only opportunity you will have to bring glory to your Savior and God.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV)

I must take up my cross daily.  I must allow God to renew my mind.  I must seek out a Godly worldview.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (Luke 9:23-24 ESV)

Beloved, if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then put yourself under His authority in ALL areas of your life.  Lay down your wants and desires.  Kill them.  Crucify them.  Then go and talk with Jesus for a while and see what He wants from you today, and tomorrow, and the next day.  His word is very clear.  His Holy Spirit will help guide you.  Godly counsel is always a wise choice.  Get into God’s Word every day for more than five minutes.  Meeting together with other brothers and sisters in Christ who are truly following after Jesus will offer you great encouragement as you continue to deny yourself, and daily take up your cross.  There is great blessing on the path with Jesus.  It just doesn’t look the same as the empty promises that the world has to offer you.

I believe the day is drawing near.  We need to encourage one another more than ever before.  To please God we must walk by faith and not by sight.  See Him.  Trust Him.  Follow Him.  You will NOT be disappointed.

Be encouraged.  Encourage your brethren.  Press on.

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