Paul said that “I take up my cross daily”. What does that mean? Does it mean that we have to “die” daily? I used to think so. I used to think that every day I had to die so that I wouldn’t sin. The old saying “I’m just a sinner saved by grace” permeated my thinking about salvation. I just saw myself as a sinner. If I didn’t choose to die, I would surely sin. Every day I basically would make what Jesus had done for me “of no effect”. I was choosing to constantly live by Old Testament rules instead of New Testament covenant.
Sure, we do take up our cross daily, but it’s not to die so we don’t sin. No, Jesus did that once and for all. We are not sinners; we are saints. Kings, queens. Priests; joint heirs of the Kingdom with Jesus. We have been adopted by the Father. There is no reason that we have to sin. Our sin nature is dead. We only sin when we forget who we are. As I learned about my true identity, I began to understand that to take up my cross was to move toward the calling and destiny that I had in Jesus. The cross wasn’t the end, the cross was something that Jesus endured to fulfill His destiny. We all have things that we have to endure to reach our destiny. Some are harder to endure than others.
One of the things that we constantly have to do is release things. We can’t hold on to things too tightly when we are reaching for Jesus. We have to release things like our reputation and our pride. Many times we have to do this daily. Sometimes we have to release friends who may be pulling us away from our relationship with Papa. Releasing must become a way of life if we are going after the Kingdom. Someone said that anything we enjoy more than being with the Father has become a God to us. I’ve had to release my love for football. Well, I have loosened my grip on it a little. But you get the picture.
Probably the hardest thing to release is our relationships with those who we love. This past year I have had to release Julia and my love for her. Does that make my love any less? No not really. But it makes it different. Now as time passes, my love for her is strong, but it moves farther back into my mind and heart. I have the memories, but sometimes it seems like another life. I think that is how it is supposed to be. It’s harder to release someone who is still with you. I have to release my girls almost daily. Even though they are grown and don’t live with me, I still have to release them. I have to trust that the Father is watching over them and their families and that He will keep them. When I think of His greatness it is easy to release them into His care. But when I just think of my love and how much I care for them, it is hard.
Probably the hardest part of watching them grow up was realizing that I can’t fix everything anymore. Of course if I had raised them like I should have, I would have realized that long ago. But we have to release the things we love and treasure the most if we are to really be able to grasp all that the Father has for us. The good news is Holy Spirit is here to help us release. So once again I open my hands, palms up, giving all my treasures to Papa. I also release all my hurts and bitterness (but that is for another post). Papa, as I give all that I love to you tonight, what will you give to me in return? Tonight He says He will give me His peace and love. That is a good exchange. What is it you need to release? Ask Him, he will tell you.