Usefulness to God is borne out of cross-bearing and intimacy with God. The one cannot be taken up without the other fueling it. It is useless to “bear a cross” for Christ if you don’t know the Christ of the Cross. The cross we would bear for Him is not something of our choosing, it is His appointment for those who love Him. He doesn’t fit everyone who would come to Him with a cross for many come who don’t know Him; these will turn away. Without knowledge of Him, there can be no intimacy with Him. No intimacy, no cross. The pain of death, accompanied by a glorious resurrection into His holy likeness, is decreed only for His truest friends. Desire is proven by death.
Death is the prescription for the would-be disciple. Life experienced to the fullest is a life that is given unto God: a cross has been taken up and a precious soul has been crucified to everything that this world says produces happiness. With death, the one crucified finally lives.
Intimacy with God is the apex of life. There is nothing more important. All around us is dust and decay. Nothing here matters because nothing here will last. Only the holy lasts. Only Him. To invest our lives in knowing Him is to have eternal life. So many are so busy knowing themselves that they can’t find time to know Him. They futility spend the fleeting moments of their days seeking their own glory. This me-centered seeking is bound up in death. It’s foolishness and the price is eternity.
Only those who have seen the horizon can fully understand the futility of living for now. Many are feasting on a garbage dump with a glorious banquet laid before us. It is, however, a banquet few can see, for the price for entering the banquet is the death of the one who feasts. We misunderstand death, thinking it a price too high to pay. We are mistaken. All will die. We will die to ourselves and this world or we will die eternally. Death is the price for living.
Death–to the world, a curse, to the disciple, a blessing. Those of the night will fight unceasingly for their right to waste their lives in wanton living, failing to see the death and decay surrounding them; those of the day will gladly lay down their lives for the right to bear a cross for their King, aware of the joy it brings.
To know God is the only thing worth striving for, the thing Scripture tells us to glory in. Knowledge of Him. Knowledge of the holy. Knowledge that leads to death on a cross for the One Who bore the Cross for us. Death that leads to usefulness here and life eternal in the ever after. This is the Christians glorious reality.
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By Anna Wood,
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