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bearcross1Welcome to my inaugural post here at The Established Heart.  As I was praying, I heard God speak to me about Matt 16:24-27.  What follows is the result of that brief conversation.  I have been holding onto this for several weeks as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to launch this thing yet.  More than once I have heard him say it is time.  So, I present to you a series of lessons that I call “The Road to Golgotha.”  We will be on this topic for a few weeks.  I hope you enjoy it.

Mat 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. 

When we pick up our cross we are carrying it to a place of death. He walked that path and died and rose again to give us life.  We carry our cross to a place of death to ourselves.  We know we are dying and yet we must go forward.  This is the denying ourselves part.  Unless we lay our cross down and run away, we will eventually reach our own Golgotha.  In Matt 27:33 it says this place is called “Place of a scull.”  It is fitting for us that is was called that, as that is where much of the battle is fought, in our minds.  Once there, our cross is planted and there we remain until death is complete and we die to ourselves completely.  Not a pretty picture, is it?  It’s not supposed to be.  The path to Golgotha is littered with crosses that have been tossed away because it was deemed too difficult.

The path I am describing is the path from the point where God calls you into a deeper walk with him to the place of death where it is no longer you that lives, but Christ within you. Do you want to just play church or are you ready to go into “Beast Mode” and go outside the four walls of the modern church and tell others the good news (preach the gospel), heal the sick and raise the dead. I will add to that list; feed the poor, being a father to the fatherless, loving the unloved and showing his loving kindness to impact a lost generation. I am so ready for my own “Beast Mode.”  My heart cries out for this.  But, I have a problem. Me.  I am the problem.  I have not been wanting to die this death to self.  I thought I did. But in reality, the answer was still no.  But then there’s this:

Matthew 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My  sake shall find it.  Matt 16:26  For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 

The word translated in vs 25 as life and the word translated as soul in vs 26 are the same word. It is the Greek word Psuche (psoo-khay’). We get our word Psyche from this word and in that context it means our mind, will and emotions. But, it also means life as in “The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

The ultimate aim in losing your life for His sake is to lose the old life, the broken life, the life that is the result of sin and the brokenness of your own soul. The life you find, is the new life.  It is the reset that we all are looking for to become what God had originally planned for us from the beginning. Many of us are content with being a mixture of the old and the new. Some had to overcome much and because of this, they believe that God put them through horrible experiences in their youth because God wants them to minister in this area or that. I DO NOT subscribe to this notion.  God does not partner with pedophiles, rapists or thugs in order to teach you things. Can we learn from these experiences?  Yes, but we learn in spite of these situations, not because of them. I am of the opinion that as children, we are marked in the spirit and set apart in some way (Gal 1:15). The enemy then tries to destroy us to prevent us from EVER walking in what God originally intended.  We walk around wounded and broken inside.  We end up hurting others instead of helping them.  Somewhere along the line, God gets a hold of us and the process of healing and restoration begins.  From the moment you receive Christ, he begins wooing you into a deeper relationship. The more about him you learn,  the more you want of him.  The more of His love that you experience, the more that you want.  He wants us to have more.  His love for us is never ending and always abounding towards us.  He wants us to seek him with all of our heart so we can be filled with all of him.  The result of that is so we can take that love and give it to others.  Unfortunately, this is where the problem lies.  There are some who don’t want to give up more of themselves  in order to have more of Him.  They’re quite content living their lives and don’t want to be bothered with anything more.  Think about that for a moment.  The God of all creation wants more of you and you say No!  It sounds crazy when you think about it.  Yet, YOU are probably doing this in some way.  We all do this in some way.  We all have those places.  I have mine and you have yours.  If it were easy, he would have said something else.  But He said “take up your cross and follow me.”

So, back to the word “Psuche.” Which meaning do we use?  “Life” or “mind, will and emotions”?  Well, the answer is both. Our life and our emotional well being are intertwined.  Without healing, our life to one degree or another is impacted by our mental and emotional baggage. Yet, our mental and emotional baggage is the product of hurts and wounds from the process of living our lives. Our life produces this mental and emotional baggage (hurts and wounds) which in turn, weighs down our life and thus produces even more baggage. It’s a vicious cycle.  Wash, rinse and repeat.

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He shall reward each one according to his works.

So, the question you may be asking is Why? Why would Jesus say that if we desire to save our life we will lose it and if we desire to lose our life, we will find it? I think I have an answer for you.

God WANTS us cleansed from sin and all of that mental and emotional baggage. He wants us free and he wants to reward each of us. Our present life can be filled with sin owing to the hurts and wounds that we have experienced from childhood through today. Those ever present wounds can prevent us from ever trusting others. They can prevent us from ever fully allowing ourselves to be loved by other  people or by God. They can also prevent us from ever fully trusting God.  We walked around filled with judgments against others and our mouths spew the venom of anger and resentment when the right trigger is applied to those wounds. The sad part of  this is that all too often, we have no idea we are filled with these judgments or that we carry this anger, resentment or whatever else there may be. Because of this, we have walls of protection to protect ourselves and the only life we have come to know. This is the life he is describing in the first half of v25.  If we desire to save (or protect) this life, we will lose it. In this place, our life is in a state of decay.  Bad things keep happening and the entrapment of sin can cause us to lose our lives and even turn away from Christ. BUT, if we desire to LOSE THIS LIFE, then we will find the life we are supposed to live. A life filled with blessing instead of cursing.  This is the ABUNDANT life that Jesus promised. It is a life filled with power instead of endless pursuits.  The second half of v25 says that if we desire to lose this life, we will find it. We cannot find what we do not seek. The implication here is that desire to lose our life is fostered by a greater desire to seek more of Him in our life. Jeremiah 29:13  “And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart. “  In the Hebrew language, the word “all” used here means “the whole.”  The word “all” is accurate, but “the whole” underscores what is meant.  It means we seek Him with our whole (complete,  with nothing held back) heart.  This means we are intentional and committed to finding Him.  Sometimes, we have places where not even God can go.  Perhaps there has been a time where the Holy Spirit may have touched on something in your own heart and you just busy yourself with something else because you just don’t want to deal with it.  Well, guess what?  You need to deal with it, and He wants to help.  Those are the places that are included in “the whole” of your heart.  The more of Him we seek, the less of ourselves we want, until the day arrives where you can truthfully say “Here I am. I give you ALL of me.  I give you everything that defines me including hurts, wounds, the good, the bad — EVERYTHING.  I don’t care what it costs me, I want all of you.”  Are you at a place where you can truly say that?  If you are, then welcome to verse 26.

Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own  soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 

When you don’t care what it costs, then you are tossing away the possibility of “gaining the whole world” and you are giving Him everything. Ultimately, it comes down to two words; TRUST and SURRENDER. Can we really trust Him?  It is often said that trust is the measure of a relationship.  Are you holding something back from Him?  Is there a secret sin in your life or perhaps something in your past that is holding on to you?  You must surrender and let go of these things.  You may need help dealing with these issues. There are people who are trained to deal with these things.  If you need help, ask. Are you willing to surrender all and finally trust Him?  Why not take a moment and ask him, Is there a place that I haven’t fully surrendered to you? Listen to what He says.  He’s talking,  but are you  listening?  Selah…



Copyright (c) 2016  M. Unruh