Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. (Mark 8:34 NIV)
In the end it will be the End that judges our Christian life. And so it is the Holy Spirit’s work, His interest, concern, energy and activity; not only to bring people to the door and to get them inside the door, but to make them know that that door is but the opening of a Way, on the other side of the door lies everything. It is not the door alone, but it is what lies beyond the door, and that is this renewal, this making anew after the image of Him that created. The End governs: it is Christ in all that He signifies and means and stands for. It is that vast All that He is. “Christ is All, and in all” is the last clause. It is Christ in that fullness, which is more than our salvation, more than our initial salvation. The door is essential, but it is what it leads to that justifies going into it.
Christ Himself, when He was here, never failed to let people know that when they entered that door, or that straight and narrow way, they were in for trouble.... Now that may sound like a very terrible thing to say, especially to you young Christians who are not far inside the door, but be perfectly clear about it; the Lord Jesus never deceived anybody about this, never at all. He let people know that to “follow Him,” as He put it at that time, involved them in difficulty and suffering and persecution and trial as a lifelong thing. There is a cost here, a great cost. And we shall discover that while there are the compensations, for there are undoubtedly the compensations in this life, and the mighty compensations for eternity, this is a way which is not easy for the natural man by any means. This work of the Holy Spirit is drastic, exacting, and very trying to the flesh. Make no mistake about it; it will take all the energy that the Holy Spirit Himself has to accomplish this work. It really will. So the Lord Jesus has not left us in any doubt about this.
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