Point #1    Our cross is the willingness to suffer for the benefit of others.

Point #2   Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Matt 16:24)

Oh, Pastor Michael, I knew you coming down to this…the hard part where I have to carry my cross and love my enemies and all that…well, it’s hard!

How many of us really have enemies? Jesus had enemies! They wanted him dead. Israel had enemies that raped and pillaged their land. When Jesus said to “love your enemies” he really showed that on the cross. When we make an application of that today…

The cross makes us recalibrate our suffering, doesn’t it?

Never are we more like God then when we forgive, and never are we less like God then when we don’t forgive.

We need to take some time and unteach ourselves some things. We need to relearn and reteach and recalibrate our own perspective on our own suffering. Because the devil has got us duped.

The yoke of the cross is much lighter than the worries of this world.

Matt. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

“What do you complain about the most?….What we complain about reveals what really matters to us. Whining shows what has power over us. Whining, in many ways, is the opposite of worshiping the Lord. Worship is when we glorify God for who he is and acknowledge what he has done for us, but whining is ignoring who God is and forgetting what he has done for us.”….Kyle Idleman

Don’t give away your power. What power do you have? The joy of the Lord!

I was reading from a well-known preacher this week who said, “Make up your mind that you will not accept other people’s garbage. They may dump, but you don’t have to receive it. Keep your lid on.”

That’s a yoke you can bear if you learn from the one who said, “Learn of me because I am meek and lowly of heart.”

Point #3 We don’t choose our path to the cross, Jesus has chosen it for us.  (John 15:16) 16  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…

This is not a guilt message today. That won’t help you…it will immoblize you. This is a message reaffirming what you are capable of as a person.  God made a way for you to him by sending his son.

What do we really have to forgive? Is someone not looking out for your best interests at work? Do you have a neighbor that is difficult to deal with? Maybe they call the cops every time your dog barks? Is that an enemy? Do you feel put down at holiday meals when you get the whole family together?

 

Before Christmas, I spoke on offences and working your way through them and when I posted the Mid-week Messenger on Facebook on the Wednesday before the message,  a friend  commented:

 I’m driving to my family right now and I’m already getting offended before I get there because I know what’s going to happen.

What is your cross? The devil tells you how heavy these things are, but I challenge you that you are being duped to very large degree. Look at the Cross and the betrayal that Christ bore on the cross. What burden do you have to bear? I would challenge you that the yoke is light. We must learn differently. We must reteach ourselves how to think about that co-worker, that neighbor, that relative, those children of yours . . .

Oh Pastor Michael, I’ve seen the enemy, and they are small!  Your children aren’t the enemy.

Pastor Michael, you spend two days in my house and my wife will get you to think differently.

I know there are extreme situations out there between relatives, I’m no fool, but the majority of the stories I hear do not fall into that category

Are the harsh words actually going both ways?  If I asked your co-workers how much  they hear you complain, what would they tell me.? If I asked them what is it like to work with you, what would they tell me? If I asked your in-laws what Christmas was like with you, what would they tell me? If I asked your kids or your spouse, what it is like to live with you everyday, what would they tell me?

OR are people amazed at your disposition, wondering how you are handling things so well, because all they see is the darkness surrounding the cross that you seem to bear.

Are you thinking, “man…a city on a hill can’t be hid.. I ain’t hiding this light under a bushel basket…they are seeing my light and I know the source”?

And you can tell them., “Ya’ know, without the Lord, I wouldn’t be able to bear that burden, but I’ve learned that  God has forgiven me a great deal more that I’ll ever need to forgive Fred over there. I’ve learned something else too…never are we more like Christ when we forgive.”

Friends, co-workers will listen to that sermon with amazement. Sermons like that don’t get the “don’t preach to me” response because it’s your testimony. And your testimony and the blood of the lamb will overcome the evil one at your job, with your neighbor and in your family.