Scripture reading: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the Law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:16-24 KJV).
by Mark Mountjoy
The shape and weight of crosses, yours may not be mine; the shape and weight of crosses, God's will be done, not mine. Some crosses are shaped like a cash symbol (for money some will do any crime), but some are shaped like a coke bottle, feminine temptations with hips and lips and finger tips; others, however, may be shaped like a man, a temptation too tantalizing to stand; or it may be a bed of laziness or issues of anger or sticky fingers of theft, larsony and embezzelment; the ugly urges of the sleight of hand.
Whatever the case may be, every one of us has a cross and they all must be a heavy burden (but God knows how much we can bear and will make a way of escape, that we may bear it).1
To me my cross may seem like it is made of lead, while all others are made of styrofoam, but the truth is this for everyone, each is sufficiently heavy to be borne.2
Whatever your cross may happen to be: alcohol, or drugs, or flesh, or contradiction, or violence, this much is true: Your hands must be outstretched and your one foot must be mounted on top of the other. And not one; not two, but three nails are needed to fasten us to it (whatever our cross may happen to be).
And we must hang there, like our Saviour two thousand years ago, and bear with joy in sorrow the hope that is set before us (for dying to sin and dead works is the trying of our faith which worketh patience, but let patience have her work, that ye may be perfect and mature).3
This is to the end that we might die, that is, cease reacting to temptation. When we become disinterested and detached from our personal sins it is then that we begin to live in the true freedom which only faith in Jesus the Son of God offers.4
When we cease struggling in the drunkeness of being ravished in satisfaction, and sated with pride and greed and instead die to our sins we, in truth, are following in the footsteps of Jesus and the firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb: who loved not their lives unto the death, but surrendered their wills and trusted God, as unto a worthy and faithful Creator.5
When we wake each day, befor we do anything else (before we comb our hair, before we brush our teeth, before we eat breakfast, before we go to work), let us hit the floor on our knees and bow and confess to God our truly desperate need for his guidance and wisdom and love for the day.
You could pray a prayer like this:
“Father God in heaven, I come before you humbly, asking for Your love, mercy and grace. I seek from You alone spiritual strength and from You the heart regulating power of Your Holy Spirit.
Light of the world, be a lamp unto my feet.
Daystar, guide me through the narrow way.
Help me study Your Word and meditate on Your truth;6
Help me obey Your commandments and walk the walk of love.7
Help me eschew evil and serve You with my whole mind and
soul and strength in the beauty of holiness.8
If there is anything displeasing in me, O God, or if there is in me any untoward motive hidden within, I pray, O Lord that you would wash and cleanse me thoroughly by the blood of the Son of Your love.9
Make me an example of You; You created me for Your pleasure, get all the glory out of my life.10
Give me grace to forgive those who have wronged or trespassed against me, and bless me with a generous and moderate spirit. Give me this day, an opportunity to share Jesus with someone who is lost that they, too, may know the joy of salvation and victory.11
I ask these blessings from You, God, in the name of Jesus.12 Amen and amen!”
1 1 Corinthians 10:13
2 2 Corinthians 12:6-10
3 James 1:4
4 1 John 5:4
5 Revelation 12:11 cf. 1 Peter 4:19
6 Psalm 119:148
7 John 13:34
8 Mark 12:30-31 and Psalm 96:9-11
9 Psalm 51:10-19 and 1 John 1:7
10 Revelation 4:11
11 Matthew 6:9-13; Philippians 4:5; 1 Peter 3:15; Acts 16:12-15 and Revelation 14:13
12 John 14:13