If anyone wants to follow in My footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind Me. (Luke 9:23 Phillips)
The Cross is applied according to every man's make-up. What would be the Cross to me would never be the Cross to you, and the Cross may mean something different for every one of us. But it is universal. That is the point — central and universal. It touches us all perhaps in a different way, and it raises questions and issues for each one of us peculiarly. That is our challenge of the Cross, and then it is a matter of whether we, in what we are, will come and allow the Cross to deal with us. It is no use saying, "What shall this man do?" the Lord will at once answer, "What is that to thee? Follow thou Me." There is a personal, individual, and shall I say, private application of the Cross to every one of us, and our spiritual growth depends entirely upon the Cross doing its work in us, and our response to it personally.
So, you see, it is very necessary that we should recognize that this cannot be taken as a kind of a general thing. It has to become peculiar to each one of us. Oh, beloved, do believe that this is not just teaching, or doctrine. It is of very great importance. But I would beg you not to accept it merely because I am saying it and emphasizing it, nor even because I tell you that so far as some of us are concerned, it is a proven thing. I would ask you for one thing only, namely, not to close your heart to it, not to say, "That is a teaching!" but just to ask the Lord, "Is this right?" taking an attitude simply and honestly before the Lord, even should you feel it is not true, and so leaving room for the possibility that the prejudice may, after all, spring from yourself, from something in your constitution or in your upbringing. Will you go to the Lord with this and say, "Lord I do not see, it is difficult for me to believe it; but, if it is true, then, Lord, I am open to the truth, and I want You to take me definitely in hand on the ground of the truth." There is not one of us, I am sure, who wants to stand in the presence of the Lord later on, and for the Lord to say, "My child, I would have led you into something very much fuller if only you had given Me the chance." Will you take a very honest and open-hearted attitude toward the Lord in the matter?
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