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Devotional Part 5

17 Mar 2021

Mark 8:34-9:1

“Take up your cross”

We must lose our lives in order to save them


Christ’s call to the disciple is to come and die. Take up your cross… so visual, so visceral. Everyone hearing these words would have been struck by the stark reality that they were being called forth unto death, that they had to die, but somehow this death, Jesus promises, would bring forth life. 

Losing their lives would in fact be the saving of their lives.

The call of our day is that you can have it all, be anything and any body. How so very important in a world where everything is up for grabs are Jesus words in verse 36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”

The way to have more is through having less. The way to greatness is through becoming small. The way to life, and life in its fulness, is through the valley of the shadow of death. It is there that the Lord prepares a table, in the presence of our enemies, where the cup runs over, next to a stream of living water where our souls are satisfied in His presence.

The valley of the shadow of death is where we put to death the flesh. This is only possible because of three things (plus one).

  • There is a rod to correct us in our error and self justification
  • There is a staff to lean on when we think we can go no further, and to guide us when we can’t see the path
  • The promised destination is a hope ever before our eyes, and will be for our ultimate good and blessing

Here’s the plus one. In truth it is the one that binds together the previous three, making sense of them and making them possible.

  • The unswerving faithfulness of character of the one making the promises; the one who is our teacher and guide

On our journey we will stumble and fall, often repeatedly. But His rod will be a correction to us, His staff a comfort to us, His word a lamp unto our feet, His patient presence with us a promise, and our now and future place with Him in Life guaranteed.

These truths should not drive us toward complacency - it will all work out in the end - but to a, I almost want to use the word reckless, pursuit of our Lord, knowing that whoever rises up to meet The Way, the Spirit of God will empower for whatever they face on the journey.

Those who plant their feet on the narrow path can be sure that they will find the narrow door and enter there, not because of their own fitness for it, or by any other self generated means, but because He who calls us on in His wake is faithful to see us through.

“Now unto Him who is able to keep us from falling. And present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our saviour be glory and majesty, dominion and power both now and forever. Amen.”

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