Your Cross, The Burden and The Benefit

I read an article recently which attempted to persuade readers that there was no biblical or spiritual basis for Christians to reject homosexuality. It doesn’t require deep hermeneutics to see plainly in scripture that GOD has resolutely forbidden homosexuality and other sexual immoralities. After reading the article and the flawed evidence for their view put forth, I was reminded that if a person has not taken up their cross after the example of Christ, they are going to stubbornly stand for whatever it is they want. Even if it means standing in some contorted and unbalanced ethical position. There was one part in the article that venomously slithered more than others, here is what it said:

 “In order for suffering to be Christ-like, it must be redemptive. Redemptive suffering does not uphold oppressive forces but always expresses resistance against them.”

This is the same line of thought which caused Christ to be crucified in the first place. I say this based on the fact that mankind fell to sin because Satan, the serpent, was able to convince Eve that GOD was being an oppressive force by denying access to the Tree of Life. Please understand that I am not writing just about homosexuality or about the need for any people to just change their behavior. I am writing about hearts that need deliverance from ideas and impressions which are not innate but inbred by a wicked deceiver who desires to see creation destroyed. Creation in its true form glorifies GOD. Satan robbed man of their true image when he got them to reflect a lie instead of the truth. Satan hates anything which glorifies GOD. What most people consider natural behavior comes from supernatural perversion. The identity that most people fight far is their false self. We see this manifestation reaching new levels in this generation.

43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:43-44 NKJV)

YESHUA spoke those words to the Jews which followed Him as they struggled to understand how they could be blind and enslaved though they felt they were free and could see clearly. Many people live by their understanding and feelings independent of the spirit of GOD, not realizing they are under the influence of venomous lies. I say venomous because the lies held in their heart and mind is poisoning them by blocking the life which flows from YAHWEH. The words of Christ are spirit and life. The lies of Satan are always anti-Christ, or anti-life, which leads to death.

This reality is why Christ tells us we must take up our cross to follow Him and receive the life He is giving. Remember earlier when I said a person will always stubbornly stand for what they want, well the cross is where we are called to surrender our wants in order to obtain that which GOD wants for us. We will not surrender to GOD the things we desire until we believe He is offering us something much better. Where a man’s treasure is, there his heart will be also. Until we are convinced that everything worth having will only be found in the will of GOD, we will continue to promote our will over His. Consequently, we will stay blind and bound until we allow His words to transform us. So then, His words and laws are not oppressive, they are liberating, and life giving. The burden of carrying His word is no more oppressive than carrying water on a journey across a desert. The weight of the water can present some discomforts, but just like carrying the word in your heart, it translates to life.

The cross we have to bear calls for us to willfully oppress our carnal appetites and worldly orientations to make way for the expression of life through the spirit. To experience life in the spirit we have to die to the dominance of the flesh. The spirit requires the mortification of the flesh without bias, and scripture is clear on what the acts of sinful flesh look like:

19 Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], 21 envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 AMP)

I cited the Amplified bible to give a little more depth into the exact meaning of these passages. The cross Christ has called us to bear is a key part of our deliverance. Our actions produce repercussions, so by denying the lies of Satan expression through our actions, we cut off the destructive repercussions until the truth restores us. This is the redemptive work of our personal cross. The cross compels us not to just oppress but to put to death all our carnal behaviors which deviate from the will of the spirit. Whether you feel you were born sexually attracted to the opposite sex or the same sex, your sexual behavior must conform to the mandates of GOD’s will because your body is His temple and not your own. It makes no difference where your neighbor is from, you are commanded to love them as you desire to be loved. The reference of ethnic groups historically has been a term designated to heathen nations. The word ethnic comes from a root word heath meaning one who lives in the woods, pertaining to heathens or pagans. Christ has given His life a ransom for all people and has now classified all people the same, purchased by His blood. Every man will give account for how he treats his neighbor to the one who has redeemed every man to Himself.

Christ has redeemed us to restore us to our true glory, however we must be willing to renounce that which has been corrupted to receive the incorruptible. When you present yourself as a living sacrifice on your cross, by enduring the sufferings necessary to put away the false self, Christ quickens the incorruptible man by His spirit, and you come forth in your true glory.  

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.”

Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:22-25 NKJV)

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 NKJV)

In recent times, we have seen the destructive power of deception and lies. The lies of the serpent have taken many more captive than the news can broadcast. YAHWEH has given us salvation through the knowledge of the Truth. YESHUA HAMASHIACH came to earth with this proclamation:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)

Embracing truth is the only way to reach our ultimate glory and destination. It is time for those who know the truth to share it in boldness that those who have been taken captive by the darkness of lies may be delivered and reconciled back to the Heavenly Father as dear children in His image.

Be glorified YESHUA HAMASHIACH!

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