I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
(Gal. 2:20)
There is a great deal of difference between knowing that Christ once was on a cross for me, and knowing that on the same cross on which He was crucified, He asked me to be crucified with Him. And what does that mean? Every Good Friday outside of Angeles City just north of Manila, a few well-meaning but misinformed individuals actually allow themselves to be crucified-at least for a few brief moments. Then the person goes to the river to wash, thinking that the water that washes away the blood will also wash away his sins.
But this is not what all of this is about. Do you remember that when Jesus was here, He called His followers to take up their cross and follow Him, and furthermore, to do it daily! It wasn't a "once and that's it" sort of thing, but something you had to wrestle with every morning you wake up. But the very image that Jesus used-that of crucifixion-was disturbing to the disciples, even as it is to us today. The cross was lethal. It wasn't a popular cultural pastime in which to engage. Once a man bore his cross, his agenda died, his hopes were dashed, and his future was as dark as the black shroud of death itself. It was only a matter of time for the end to be played out.
A.W. Tozer was a man whose pen cut deep as a Roman sword. He put it like this. "The man with a cross no longer controls his destiny; he lost control when he picked up his cross. That cross immediately became to him an all-absorbing interest, an overwhelming interference. No matter what he may desire to do, there is but one thing he can do; that is, move on toward the place of crucifixion."
Christ on the cross brought deliverance from the condemnation of your sin, but your willingness to allow yourself to be there with Him brings deliverance from the power of sin. Paul understood all of this, far more plainly than we want to even glimpse it. He wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ" (Gal. 2:20).
Saint Francis de Sales wrote, "The cross God now sends you he has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms, and weighed with His own hands to see that it not be one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you."
Your cross is your connection with the will of God and it demands your surrender to what the Father wants of you. No, this is not to be feared. It is to be acknowledged as the stair-steps to heaven, walking in the footsteps of Jesus, doing His will day by day, trusting Him for His grace and strength to do what God demands of you.
The cross represents obedience. Remember Scripture tells us that Jesus was obedient unto death, and that same obedience marks the man or woman of faith who can honestly say, "Not my will, Lord, but yours be done this day!"
A final thought-something to take with you for the rest of the day. The word Paul used when he said, "I have been crucified with Christ" is a past tense with present tense application. In other words, it began at a certain point. That was the day he shouldered His cross and began walking with the Lord, but it continues day by day, with a renewal every morning. "Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free?" asked Thomas Shepherd in 1693. He then answered his own question, writing, "No, there's a cross for everyone, and there's a cross for me." It's still true.

 Resource reading: Hebrews 13:1-14

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