JANUARY 21

 

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me—Matt. 16: 24.

 

Cross-bearing is closely related to self-denial, and yet a distinction between them may be noted. Self-denial relates more particularly to passive obedience and endurance for the Lord's sake; cross-bearing has to do more especially with activities in the Lord's service, which we find to be contrary to our natural inclinations. Faithfulness in self-denial means courage and zeal;  cross-bearing means victory, overcoming. Our self-denials may be victories in our own hearts, of which others may know nothing, and of which they should know nothing, if we desire to have the fullness of the Lord's blessing. Our cross-bearing, however, may be seen, to some extent at least, by those who are in close contact with us, and especially by those who are walking in the same "narrow way".

 

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Self-denial in the Christian sense is not simply abstinence from our rights, but abstinence from our rights for the Lord's sake. To bear the cross implies subjection of self to the Lord's will in service, from faith, hope, love and obedience in all life's affairs, especially amid untoward circumstances. Only those who practice such self-denial and cross-bearing are Christ's true followers, and as such shall at the end of their course be acknowledged by the Lord for a share in Christ's glorious Kingdom.

 

Parallel passages: Gen. 22: 1-12; 2Sam. 24: 24; Matt. 8: 19-22; 10: 37-39; 13:  44-46; 19: 12, 21; Luke 5: 11, 27, 28; 14: 33; 18: 27-30; 21: 2-4; Acts 20: 22-24; Rom. 6: 1-11; 14: 1-22; 15: 1-5;  1Cor. 8: 13; 9: 12, 15, 18, 19, 23-27; 10: 24;  Phil. 3: 7-9; Titus 2: 12;  1Pet. 2: 11, 16; 4: 1, 2.

 

Questions: What have been this week's experiences in line with this text? How were they met? In what did they result?

 

THE CALL DIVINE

 

TO-DAY, to-morrow, evermore,

Through cheerless nights without a star,

Not asking whither or how far,

Rejoicing though the way be sore,

Take up thy cross

And follow Me.

 

I cannot promise wealth or ease,

 Fame, pleasure, length of days, esteem—

These things are vainer than they seem—

If thou canst turn from all of these,

Take up thy cross

And follow Me!

 

I promise only perfect peace,

Sweet peace that lives through years of strife;

Eternal love, immortal life,

And rest when all these wanderings cease.

Take up thy cross

And follow Me!

 

My yoke is easy—put it on;

My burden very light to bear.

Who shareth this, My crown shall share—

The present cross insures the crown.

Take up thy cross

And follow Me!

 

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