Carey Lewis Devotions
Friday, March 17th, 2017
Matthew 16 (Part 22)
Disciple Qualifications: Cross-Carrying
Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'
Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)
The Cross of Jesus Christ fascinates me. It humbles me like nothing else can do. It nails me in a state of contrition. If lifts me above mainstream worldliness. It pierces all of the lusts of my flesh. It stretches me in ways I need to go.

It bows my head in fervent prayer. It takes me closer to God than I've been. It refuses my twistings and turnings. It maintains me on the straight and narrow. It silences my frivolous complaints. It separates me from faith's pretenders.

It exposes me to Satan's cronies, but It protects me from their evil boss. It ushers me into isolation, where God Himself tenderly revives me. It prepares me to walk in victory as a conqueror--and not a victim.

The more I hang my heart and mind on It... the more I grow as a saint and soldier. Surely, I need to hang on It often, but I can easily ignore The Cross... until hard times arrest me, restrain me and beat me into helpless surrender.

Actors, models and talent for Christ: If you consider The Cross daily, then pick It up and take It with you, you will be strengthened beyond others who like to hang crosses from their necks. Because Christ isn't into trinkets, no matter what the jewelers say.

So what does carrying The Cross mean? Deep-in-the-faith pastors and scholars have written and spoken many words, trying to pass along Christ's Message.* To me It means duty unto death. Everything else we may do in life must be secondary to The Cross.

To Be Continued...

* 'And take up his cross; willingly and cheerfully bear those trials and afflictions which the providence of God brings him under for owning and standing to his profession, all which come under the name of the cross, with respect to Christ's cross, on which he suffered... (Matthew Poole's Commentary, as well as many more...)

* Short article: What did Jesus mean when He said, 'Take up your cross and follow Me'?

* Short article: What does it mean to take up your cross and follow Jesus?

P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Matthew 16 series.

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"I labored, yet not I. By the grace of God, I am what I am, and do what I do' (paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 15:10). I love God's Word. As a late-in-life committed Christian with no Bible training prior to age 51, some people wonder how I'm qualified to write devotions. I wonder that, too. But God loves children and fools for Him. I am both. Ghost Writer? God.

Carey Lewis

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