The Crucified Life

“Your dreams are about to come true."

“Your breakthrough is on the way.”

"The toughest times come just before the greatest blessings.”

“God is getting ready to catapult you into greatness.”

Statements like those find their power by pulling on a person’s deep longing to be successful, wealthy, put-together, respected, and otherwise well-positioned in life. In fact, the Word “breakthrough” has become a Christian code word that means “The day I never have any more struggles.” We have sermons that give you steps to a better you and keys to success in this area or that area. It seems that every message you hear is about how your dreams are just within arm’s reach. But the reason we have so much preaching on climbing mountains is because we don’t have the faith or power to move mountains. And we lack faith and power because we lack the preaching of the cross.

Sadly, many are promising a life without troubles, trials, sacrifice, or commitment. Honestly, that’s just contrary to what Jesus told us:

John 16:33

In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Sure, the blessings of God abound in the life of every believer. He prospers, provides for, protects, and loves His people. God does not despise the prayer request. God does not become angry with His child’s request for a blessing. But one thing we should all remember is this: God’s cause takes precedence over the believer’s comfort. So let me just be real with you - many are deceived by a false gospel that requires nothing of them.

Mark 8:34-35

34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.

Jesus spoke those challenging words just after prophesying His own death. His disciple Peter was resistant to the idea of Jesus giving His own life on the cross. The Lord rebuked Peter, saying, “Get away from me, Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Get away from me Satan? Those harsh words exposed the source of Peter’s resistance to the cross. Resistance to the cross is Satanic. Think of how the Devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Satan offered to Jesus a cross-less path to glory. Yet Jesus, filled with both the Word and the Spirit, overcame the temptation to deny the cross. He chose instead to deny Himself.

A cross-less gospel is a Christ-less gospel. The gospel is not about self-improvement; it’s about self-abandonment. It’s not about our dreams; it’s about God’s will. We must stop trying to build what the Word of God has told us to crucify.

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