HAVING PERFECT FELLOWSHIP
WITH THE CROSS
By Dan Luehrs
“And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23 NAS).
If I were to ask the average Christian, what is your goal as a believer in Jesus? They would probably say, “To go to heaven when I die.” Yes this is a noble goal, but that is at the end of your life, while we are on this earth we must have a purpose for living to keep us on track spiritually. For us to stay as vibrant Christians we must have a daily goal that keeps us going spiritually strong on the path of life. When things get hard and difficult in life, we can lose all of our hopes and dreams in our storms when we do not have a gaily goal.
The only true and lasting goal that we should have in this life is to follow Jesus and to become like Him by the end of our life. Everything else that we do in this life will pale in comparison to this! If your goal is to make a name for yourself or to get rich and live a comfortable life through worldly endeavors, STOP! In the end you will only end up as a terrible wretch, poor, blind, and naked spiritually with nothing to show for your life eternally.
Jesus gave us the blueprint for finding our life in Him, FOLLOW ME! The problem with this is, we really do not trust Him to lead us, nor do we trust ourselves enough to hear His voice to follow Him. When we pray and ask for His leading it might be in a totally different direction then where we would want to go and then we discount it by saying “That cannot be God!” We somehow got this worldly mindset that God will always brings us into something bigger and better than we had before, when in fact going down, is going up in His kingdom. Your flesh may have a problem with that statement, but if you will study the lives of Jesus and Paul you will very quickly see that I am telling you the truth. Many Christians wonder why they are not growing spiritually, could this be it, because they refuse to follow Jesus and live by faith and leave their comfortable lives for a life of faith in trusting Him to provide for their needs and security. When the truth of the matter is; we only have true security in our life as we fully obey and follow Jesus.
Revelation 14:4 always comes back to me when I think about following Him, “… These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes…” These are the ones who make it to the top of spiritual Mount Zion and become like Him in the process of following Him; having their Father’s name written on their forehead, meaning that they have begun to think and act like Jesus in their life-time upon the earth. It’s when the Father sees the likeness of Christ in our lives that He is well pleased.
This is what the perfect fellowship with the cross of Christ will do for us, making us like Him. God is not asking us to follow Jesus and carry our cross daily for some religious practice, but is to kill our own self will and nature within us so that we will know Him in all His fullness. God’s purpose for us is to inherit the glory of God as Jesus did by following Him daily.
For some reason it has taken me twenty seven years of following Christ to even begin to understand the working of the cross of Christ in my own life. Why has it taken this long, I do not know? I had been asking the Lord how I can gain Christ and to know Him in the fullness of His Spirit. He has shown me how the power of the cross has been working in my life since I became a Christian and I did not even know it. I am not writing about our personal salvation through the cross and blood of Christ, but our own cross that we are called to pick up when we follow the Lord’s plan and will for our life. Following Him is truly a cross that we all must endure to be His disciple and is both terrible and wonderful at the same time. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27 NAS). We consider the original twelve disciples honored because Jesus told them to leave everything and follow Him, when in fact we are just as honored by the Lord when He calls us. There is a high price to pay in following Him, but oh the eternal rewards are out of this world!
"For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Luke 9:24 NAS).
“Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can't be my disciple” (Luke 14:33 Message Version).
Notice what Jesus said, if we try to keep our life style and our own plans for our future we will lose it all in the end. But if we will lay all our plans down and follow Him we will find His life and gain all that He is. "For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself” (Luke 9:25 NAS)? Jesus is not only talking to unbelievers here, but believers also. Imagine living your whole life getting the things of the world and making a name for yourself and finding out at the end of this life that you lived for yourself and everything that you gained in life is given to others and you are now just a spiritual beggar. But if you had followed the Lord you would be sitting on the throne of glory next to Him, now that would be a great loss to miss out on for eternity!
all want seemingly successful lives in our own eyes and in our family and
friends eyes. Many people live lives of depression because they feel like
failures because things have not worked out in their life as they thought it
should have. Some thirty thousand or more people kill themselves every year in
Do you want all of Jesus? Do you desire to be as close to Him as any person who has ever lived? Then embrace your cross that God has called you to carry and follow Christ; it will kill the self-life in you so that Jesus can grow in strength and wisdom in you. That is how you gain Christ! “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8 NAS). Paul considered everything he had ever gained in life as garbage! His education, career as a Pharisee, his home, money, and his retirement were all lost for the purpose of gaining the surpassing knowledge of knowing Jesus. Now that is a life well lived! You might say, “Well that was Paul.” We are called to learn from Paul’s life and go beyond what his relationship was with the Lord because we have been given so much more than even Paul was given in his life-time. He did not have a New Testament Bible to study the life of Jesus or the other writings it holds.
MY TESTIMONY OF THE CROSS
When I first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in 1983 I was twenty one years old and had everything in life that I wanted. I had a full-time job that I planned to retire from; I had a house, was married, had a car, truck, raced motorcycles, and had money in the bank. I had life made and I was only twenty one!
Two years later I was out looking at a new house to buy and for the first time in my life I felt the Holy Spirit inside of me say, “No!” I was bewildered because I thought surely God would not be against me buying a new home, would He? Then a few weeks later I was working on my motorcycle and the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “You’re moving.” My wife came out into the garage to see how I was doing and I said the Lord just told me that we are moving and she said, “Where?” I did not know because the life of the cross was so new to me.
At that time when we were going to move I did not
feel I had a call to preach, I just felt in my heart that we were to move. As I
was watching the Jimmy Swaggart program one morning they were advertising their
We miraculously sold our home in two weeks in the
middle of winter and got everything packed up and ready to go within a few
weeks and we were on our way to
When school began for me I was two weeks late
already for the winter semester and on the first day of school I had a test
waiting for me! As I took this test I was not prepared at all for it and got an
F on my first test and it only got worse from there on out. I was not a
schooling type person at all, when I was in High School my average was a D or C
at best and now I found myself in College! I thought Bible school would be
different when I was learning about Jesus. When I had tests about the Bible I
got really good grades. You might be asking yourself isn't that what
TAX TIME HITS HARD THAT YEAR
I was in an H&R Block office in
Within a few days things got really hard for me in school, I could not handle sitting in class any longer, it was driving me up the wall! I went from running all day on my job at UPS to sitting all day in school; I didn't know how to handle it. I literally almost blew up one day in class crying out "Let me out of here!" I felt like I was in prison and needed to be released. The pressure became so great that I just had to get out while I could and I did!
This truly put our lives into a tailspin. That night
I sat down at the dinner table with my wife and just wept saying, "I
messed up our lives and I'm sorry, please forgive me! I just gave up my good
paying job and gave up our house and now after six weeks of college we were going
back home. But first we wanted to go see my wife’s uncle in
The great hurt in my life was losing my good job and reputation, but years later I began to see why I had to go through this. One day as I was in church seeking the Lord why all this was happening to me He said, “Money was my god and I had to break it from you.” I would do anything for a dollar my dad use to say and he was right. My quest was to make money, and that was not the will of God for my life and these trials help me to see this and to kill the desire to serve mammon in my life. Satan would test me many times at making more money or to serve God whole heartedly. God has given me grace to walk away from making money and has entrust me with much more true wealth than I could have ever imagined. The cross of following Jesus in our life will kill within us all that is not of Him, He will then replace anything that we give up willingly with Himself, which are the true eternal riches in us!
A LIFE OF SUFFERING
“Saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day” (Luke 9:22 NAS).
Everything that I have shared with you about carrying our cross has come out of the book of Luke; it is the carrying of our cross that gives us the fullness of God that we all seek for in Him. The path of the cross is the path to gaining the life of Christ daily and it starts with us taking the time to seek His presence everyday. This is a cross and it crucifies our self will as we spend time with Him. As we walk the path of the cross it will lead us to our desired end, to the glory of God and being made into His likeness. There is no other way to the glory of God other than carrying our cross!
knew this very well, for He carried His own cross throughout His whole life and
long before He was hung on it to die physically. Jesus learned to die to
Himself by the age of thirty and became like His Father, then the Father was
able to declare Him the Son of God. “This
is My beloved Son in Whom I Am well pleased.” Jesus did not declare Himself
the Son of God, His Father did! The Father was well pleased with the likeness
of Himself in Jesus as He is with us, when we show forth His character and
likeness in this life.
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10 NAS).
Jesus had to suffer to learn obedience as a Son, why would we not have to? He
said, "A pupil is not above his
teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his
teacher” (Luke 6:40 NAS). We are fully trained as sons when we can drink
the cup of His suffering and then be glorified in the Father, but not until
then. If we read
ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST
“Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things” (Philippians 3:17-19 NAS).
years I have wondered about these verses and have never really heard anyone
speak or write on them and as to there meaning, until one day the Lord spoke to
me in a dream and revelation was given to me. He said, “They who do not pick up
their cross and follow Me are enemies of the cross of Christ.” It is all about
our obedience to Him and to follow His direction for our lives no matter the
cost of earthly things. People who set their minds on earthly things and do not
follow Him with their whole heart wonder why they do not gain more of the
revelation of Christ. But why would we not want to carry our cross daily, for
it is the very thing that gives us His fullness of life? Jesus said in
wonder why we are to rejoice at carrying our cross, because it gives us the
fullness of Christ in our life and throughout eternity. James said, “Consider it
wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter
trials of any sort or fall into various temptations” (
Let me say this to you as clearly as I can write. If you are not obeying God and following Christ with your whole heart you are an enemy of the cross of Christ and you are an enemy to those who want to follow Him! Your mind is set on pleasing yourself and the world rather than pleasing God and you will suffer a great loss and destruction at the end of your life when you stand before Him. Paul said many people who use to walk with Christ are now enemies because they would not pay the price to follow Christ and die to self by carrying their cross.
Andrew Murray writes on page 70 in his classic book, The Secret of Spiritual Strength: “The cross speaks of death. It is only as man is ready to completely part with his whole present life to die-to-it that he can enter into, or fully receive to himself, the life and glory of God. Christ Himself did this. His whole life was animated by the crucifixion spirit.” (End of quote).
In closing, if you are not following Christ with your whole heart I earnestly appeal to you to repent NOW! Why give up God’s wonderful plan for your future throughout eternity on His throne with Him for just a few years of pleasure upon this earth? And truly without Him there is no true lasting pleasure and peace while we are on this earth anyway. If we continually live in His presence daily we could make a cardboard shack into a palace. Seek Him my friend; seek Him in the perfect fellowship of your cross!