Jesus told His disciples,
And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his [ lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life]. He who receives and welcomes and accepts you receives and welcomes and accepts Me, and he who receives and welcomes and accepts Me receives and welcomes and accepts Him Who sent Me. He who receives and welcomes and accepts a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives and welcomes and accepts a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives to one of these little ones [in rank or influence] even a cup of cold water because he is My disciple, surely I declare to you, he shall not lose his reward. (Matthew 10:39-42 AMP)
I have never notice the importance of the context of verse 39 before today. It happened while fellowshipping with a dear sister in Christ who lives in South Africa. The cross of Jesus, the one He has made for us to bear, has cut us off from finding our life in this world. As a result the life of the cross can be very lonely. I know that many of you who follow this blog know what I am talking about. But isn’t it interesting that Jesus did not leave this discussion with only the losing of one’s life, a life cut off, hidden and alone? No, He gives us a promise of finding our higher life in the Spirit with comfort along the way.
He goes on to speak of even finding a life on this plain… one where we are not always rejected by the people on this earth. He speaks of those who have taken up His cross as being received, welcomed and accepted by others who have also received, welcomed and accepted Him. Jesus knew how lonely this life of following the will of His Father could be and it is as if He is making provision for us to not always be alone and rejected. There are those who receive His prophets and those who have found their righteousness in Him and who respond to His life in us. There are even those who receive the least of His brethren in His love. It is as if the Lord is making provision for those who are pilgrims that we would receive encouragement along the path He has set before us. He is even offering those who show us His love and kindness a reward for doing so.
I know that for many of us, these “love oasis” have been few and far between, but even in that Jesus has made a provision in promising that He would not leave us alone, but would come to us again in the form of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. It is interesting that even thought the Spirit gives us spiritual powers, he is not called “The Empowerer,” but the Comforter. Jesus knew that we would need comfort on this journey and that our fellow believers would not always be there to provide it. A life alone and set apart seems to be the norm for those who have chosen the way of the cross.
Yet, in all this, loneliness is not the goal, but part of the flesh killing process that we must go through that we would have no confidence in ourselves. One time a pastor asked me how I was doing. I said, “Not to bad… under the circumstances.” To this he replied, “What are you doing under there?” We are promised that we who persevere will find our higher lives in Christ where we sit together with Him in heavenly places with the Father. I often marvel at the spiritual place where Paul and Barnabas were in that Philippian jail. They were first whipped and then chained to the wall in a darkened dungeon. Yet, they were singing their hearts out with praises to the Lord in that very situation. I think that they were more caught-up with the presence of the Lord than with their circumstances.
Let us always believe that He is there with us in this journey even when others are not. May the Lord open our eyes to see and our hearts to accept who we are IN Christ Jesus and understand and experience that “IN Him we live and move and have our being.”