"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

The Way Of The Cross

By Mrs. Mary Woodard

    "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Phil. 1:29).

    If there is one thing above all else that the human mind and body resists, it is suffering. We recoil from it. We try to avoid it by every means possible. We let our minds dwell for a moment on the sufferings of Jesus, and we somehow think it unfair that we should suffer, forgetting the words of Jesus Himself: "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord" (Matt. 10:24).

    Jesus drank of the Cup of Suffering and was baptized with the baptism of death, and we are given these words: "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps" (1 Pet. 2:21).

    If we would embrace the Way of the Cross, we must also accept the Cup of Suffering. Let us see then, what the Way of the Cross requires of us.

    Self-Denial: The Way of the Cross is a Way of Self-denial. It is no longer what we want, but what God wants for us. "Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt. 16:24). Our cross is His cross. Jesus did the will of the Father (John 4:34), and so must we if we are His (Matt. 7:21).

    The disciples forsook all to follow Him (Matt. 19:27). The Apostle Paul suffered the loss of all things (Phil. 3:8).

    Persecution: The Way of the Cross is a Way of Persecution. "Yea, and all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12). The sinless Son of God suffered at the hands of the mob (Mark 14:65; 15:17-20).

    Space would not permit the accounts of the persecutions of the prophets, of whom the world is not worthy (Heb. 11:35-38), nor the cruel treatment and death of the apostles, nor of the accounts of men and women through the ages who have given their lives for the sake of the Gospel. Around the world today there are many who are partaking of the Cup of Suffering because they have chosen the Way of the Cross rather than deny their Lord.

    These I would remind of the Lord’s words: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (Matt. 5:11-12).

    Reproach: The Way of the Cross is a Way of Reproach. It is a savor of death to those that are lost (2 Cor. 2:15-16). If you are a friend of the world, you are an enemy of God (Jas. 4:4). If you go the Way of the Cross, do not expect to be popular. You will be misunderstood. You will be treated as the filth of the world, and as the offscouring of all things (1 Cor. 4:12-13; 1 Pet. 4:14).

    Suffering: The Way of the Cross is a Way of Suffering. Jesus "...though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered" (Heb. 5:8). How much more you and me? The Apostle Paul had a "thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet" him, but the Lord said unto him, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness." "Most gladly therefore," said the apostle, "will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Cor. 12:7, 9).

    We must be made weak in ourselves so that we can be made strong in Him. Yes, as many as He loves, He rebukes and chastens (Rev. 3:19), and this chastening sometimes takes the form of a thorn in the flesh, a physical suffering, something which drives us to our knees and causes us to rely on Him and His strength.

    Offense: The Way of the Cross is a Way of Offense. Just before Jesus went to the Cross, He told the disciples, "All ye shall be offended because of Me this night..." (Matt. 26:31).

    The world will accept a cross-less, blood-less religion. If you accept the Way of the Cross you will not only offend those who are lost, you will offend the professors of Christianity who choose to remain lukewarm and carnal.

    Forsaking: The Way of the Cross is a Way of Forsaking. "...Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:33). It is a forsaking of sin. It is a forsaking of one’s own self, of one’s way of life, of one’s ambitions. It is a forsaking of the world. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world..." (1 John 2:15).

    Whatever comes your way, rejoice that you are counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41). Amid the suffering there will be joy; there will be peace; you will have meat to eat that others know not of (John 4:10-32).

    Accept your cross and carry it unashamedly. "...Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator" (1 Pet. 4:19). "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him..." (2 Tim. 2:12).

    – Condensed.