Last week I went to a cabin and it was horribly cold. There was a woodstove in the center of the room and the fire was dying down. In order to make it warmer, I had to go out into the cold and get more wood. I stacked the wood on one arm, as I shuddered in the cold. When I had all that I could balance and carry, I took another piece in my free hand and carried it all into the cabin, fed the fire, and enjoyed the warmth. To “get to” the warmth, I had to endure the cold, the hardship. To carry the wood to build the fire, I had to empty my arms of everything else.
If you try to keep your “self” and carry the cross of Jesus… you will drop the cross!
In Matthew 16, Jesus is speaking. Jesus shares that He is about to give His life, so that others can be saved and Peter objects. Jesus tells Peter that Peter is looking at things from his own human perspective and not from God’s point of view. In fact, Jesus rebukes Satan for deceiving Peter and for trying to deceive Jesus Himself.
The point that Jesus is making is that we need to lay down our human thinking, our self, and take up the cross of Jesus in order to accomplish God’s ministry through us. Sometimes we don’t realize we are looking at life through a human perspective, when God has a bigger view that He wants us to see. Sometimes we don’t realize that our “self” gets in the way of accomplishing God’s mission for our life.
The focus on this message is the realization that in order to receive more of Him; we need to cast off more of ourselves. In order to “take up the cross of Christ”, we lay down many of the things that now occupy our efforts.
John 3:30 He must become greater; I must become less.
We will also look at the fact that the tough times we go through are often the only path to victory. Jesus already demonstrated this, and then demonstrated that He has overcome the world.