"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." - Luke 14:27
The true Christian life, which is to be a disciple of Christ, is a life of sacrifice. This "taking up of our cross" means that we 'die' to the right to do as we please, and surrender 'unconditionally' to the Lordship of Jesus. It was on the Cross that Jesus suffered the ultimate injustice, but He did not retaliate, or ask the Father to retaliate, but rather to forgive. This is one of the most difficult tasks for any human being, but it is the basic responsibility of the disciple – to forsake RETALIATION when it may be just, and to forgive instead.
NOT GETTING EVEN
As the battle between light and darkness unfolds, our victory is not the destruction of our enemies, but their salvation. Jesus went to the Cross to save the very ones who had persecuted Him, and even for those who were torturing Him. As Christians, we may often resolve to forgive but secretly hope for justice from the Lord, but Jesus went beyond that. HE DID NOT WANT THE FATHER TO GET EVEN for Him – He even asked the Father to forgive them. That is ultimate forgiveness and ultimate love.
Forgiveness can be one of the most difficult of all things to do, but it is the most basic discipline of Christianity and the surest sign of Christian maturity. As we are told to take up our crosses daily to follow Him, we should also daily look for opportunities to forgive.
Many believe that they do not have to forgive until the person who did them wrong repents. That is not what Jesus did. He forgave us when we were yet in our sin. Some later acknowledged His great mercy and others did not, but He forgave them anyway, and we must do this.
Forgiving someone does not mean that they will not have consequences for their sin. Other spiritual laws apply here, such as Galatians 6:7, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." However, it is our basic calling as priests to intercede for those who transgress (even after we forgive them), seeking grace and mercy on their behalf.
The law that we will reap what we sow also works on our behalf when we forgive others. If we want to reap mercy, we must learn to sow mercy every chance we get. If we want to reap grace, we must sow grace every chance we get. The life of the Cross gives us daily opportunities to sow grace and mercy, and as we are able to do this, we too will reap the same.
2 Corinthians 10:1,3-5 - "I, Paul myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ....For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience...."
STRIKING DOWN STRONGHOLDS
It is foolish to assume that our salvation experience has eliminated all the wrong ideas and attitudes (unforgiveness) – the strongholds – which are still influencing our perceptions and behavior. To war effectively we must separate what is of the flesh and what is of the devil. We must make sure that the real enemy is not our own carnal nature (eg. unforgiveness). We ask ourselves “are the things that are oppressing me today the harvest of what I planted yesterday”.
PURSUING GOD'S PURPOSE FOR OUR LIFE
Nothing is to hinder the seed of DESTINY God has planted in us. We are to breakout of small mindedness (unforgiveness), old mind sets, and human thinking and enter into the MIND AND PLANS OF GOD FOR OUR LIVES. It is only our lack of failure to obey that hinders the breakout.
I CONFESS THAT I WALK IN FORGIVENESS!
OFFENSE, BITTERNESS, STRIFE, AND UNFORGIVENESS HAVE NO PLACE IN MY LIFE.
I AM FULL OF MERCY, LONGSUFFERING, AND SLOW TO ANGER.
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