“If I see aright, the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity. The old cross slew men, the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it.”
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
Matthew 16:24, CSV
[ Take Up the Cross and Follow Him ] When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
In thebook Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis writes of Reepicheep. He is a mouse of exceptional courage and with a strong faith. People seem to always misunderstand a talking mouse, especially one who dresses like a swashbuckler.
He is determined to reach the utter east and join the Lion, Aslan (a type of Christ), Reepicheep is heard to say,
“While I may, I will sail in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I will row in my coracle. When that sinks, I shall paddle east with my four paws. Then, when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, there I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.”
Compare this to the Apostle Paul’s testimony:
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what is ahead,14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul transmitted an example to his generation of Christians. He put himself as a model of what is to motivate a believer. The apostle Paul pressed into what the Holy Spirit had for him. Both Paul, and Reepicheep are great examples, they would rather die than to miss their calling.
Everything depends on what God allows of course. But I believe He makes a special place at His side to those who mix their faith with authentic desire like Reepicheep of Narnia and Paul of Tarsus.
God may be making you brave and full of faith. Deep down, this is exactly what your soul is really wanting. Give Him permission to do this work in your heart. Then stand back and see what happens.
“The highest honor that God can confer upon his children is the blood-red crown of martyrdom. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings that God has made, are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us.”
“These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were redeemed from humanity as the firstfruits for God and the Lamb.”
9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.
Look at the disciples. There were 500 standing with their mouths open tracking Jesus’ ascension. They were witnesses to the Lord’s departure.
Suddenly two men appear, clothed in white. They both seem to be extraordinary–they clearly explained what has just happened.
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
We live in an age of history where Jesus sits on the throne. It is not an ordinary time, He has ascended to His Father and now lives “to make intercession for us.” This is no small thing.
Perhaps sometimes we wish to move with the disciples and have their experiences. Perhaps we feel we would be better followers if we could share with them the miracles of the Lord Jesus. Somehow we would be stronger believers.
Let us remember though that we will see His second coming. The angels were quite clear about this– He will come again! Scripture is quite vocal about this.
We will see Him just as He is, and we will be changed into His likeness.
We don’t know exactly when. It is Father’s decision. But we will be there, and the promises are true. This is possibly the greatest privilege we could ever have.
Saint, now it the time to prepare. We know enough scripture to understand the imminent. We are to take active steps to be part of His return to earth and His Kingdom which becomes visible.
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.”