The Daily Cross
In studying the truth of the cross in the Christian life, we do well to carefully consider the command of Christ to take up our cross daily. There are several important facts about this duty that we ought to notice.
In the first place the taking up of our cross implies a definite surrender of our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. The reality of our consecration is not fully attested when we make a profession of full surrender to Christ (though there may be a partial evidence then), but by our obedience to the will of God revealed in the laws and principles of Christian living set forth in the Word, the providences of life as they come to us day by day, and the convictions of Divine truth in the heart.
Every cross that Godís will sends is a test of the reality of our consecration. Our surrender to Christ must be as real and definite as the cross that lies before us.
Surrender is both a crisis in the soul and a daily experience in the life. We must first deny ourselves in one complete and final surrender of our lives to Christ before we can take up our cross daily and follow Him. But Christian discipleship demands a daily surrender to the Lord in the things that are hard and the doing of which spells death to the flesh, the world, and self.
Each time we take up the cross, by submitting to the will of God for our lives, we redeclare our allegiance to Christ and re-affirm our determination to do His will at any cost and to please Him in everything. We practically repeat our surrender and thereby deepen and perfect it.
The Christianís surrender is to be a very practical thing. It may be accompanied by a great emotional experience, but its reality is revealed in the taking up of the cross in the daily life. True surrender proves itself in the everyday trials and duties of life. If it does not do that for us, it is spurious, or at least incomplete. Surrender to Christ means that I do and bear the hard things that come to me for Jesusí sake. We live for Christ in all the circumstances and duties of home, society, business and church, if we are truly consecrated.
Our daily surrender to Christ must be voluntary. The believer must himself take up his cross. God will not lay it upon us and bind it on our backs. If we are fully to follow Christ, we must willingly take up our cross. We must "present" our bodies "a living sacrifice." As Christ went willingly to Calvary, so our consecration also must be voluntary.
The surrender signified by the cross is complete. The cross stands for death, and is the sign of a surrender that stops not short of death itself. The early church proved the completeness of its surrender by following Christ into torture and death. It may be that we too shall be called upon to suffer for Christís sake before His return.
The Saviour gave His all for us, and asks no less from us. Consecration is a "living sacrifice." It is putting all on the altar. It is making Christ first in everything.
Ė Life Indeed (Now titled First!)