THE CROSS | THE JOURNEY | THE COST


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The journey to the cross was a walk of God’s love for man! That love is extreme, if I could borrow a word from some folks, that love is “HYPER!” The Bible expressed this profound truth in this manner “for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”. If the expression should be out to terms with the present, it would be “for God sooooooooo….” It should run to infinity!
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The reason for what happened on the cross is man because the cross is the only way salvation would take place. The events to the cross wasn’t some kind of entertainment or reality TV show. Salvation didn’t take place because of the shape of the cross but because of what happened on the cross. On the cross, Jesus carried all our sins and burdens, it was hung with Him right there. Sin so dirty and burden so heavy that He looked down and forsook Himself! When Jesus cried “My father, my father, why has thou forsaken me” He expressed God’s overlook on Him for the reason of His mission, to save man. Yes, Jesus is God but on earth He operated as man and forsook Himself! By this, He brought the power of sin to end and silenced the voice of the law forever! No wonder He proclaimed “it is finished!”
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By His own blood, He redeemed us. Those who were under the law, He brought them out of it and those who were without God, He brought them into God’s kingdom! By this, Jesus became the Lord and the Christ. In the sense that His lordship manifests in anyone who believes (submit & accept) the finished work of Jesus.
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Many times people keep talking about crimes in a bid to find a way out of it but crime is not something to be talked about. It is something to motivate you to go out there and bring in the solution which is Jesus. The first thing every man need is Jesus, when Jesus is in, the devil is out! When men submit to the Lordship of Jesus, they begin to walk in His will. This is why we must never relent in preaching the gospel, we shouldn’t get too comfortable with life that we forget souls are perishing in ignorance. There is no way to the crown without the cross. You cannot make impact when you’re limited to your comfort zone. You must give up some beautiful things if you’re out to reach out to people as there is no two ways about it. Jesus gave up his all… That is what the cross means.
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It is love that makes us eager to pick up the cross! Not love for our wives but love for Jesus! Jesus said to Peter “if you love me, feed my flocks” and somewhere else Jesus said “if you love me, keep my commandments”, you see there is no way we would do the works of Jesus if we don’t love Him. And never forget, there is a crown for every good works we did in His name. Like David, we can face that giant! David wasn’t out to fight the person of Goliath but the cause behind the person! He loved God that he couldn’t stand anyone make mockery of God. When you’re sold out for God, everything in you is committed for it!
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The entire Christian journey is Christ! He is the journey and the destination. We start in/with him and we end in/with him. The result God produces through us is dependent on our maturity in Him. Just like you can’t trust your 10 year old son to manage your firm, Good cannot trust you with responsibilities when you aren’t grown up! The Bible says “as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God”. The day you gave birth to a child, he had the ability to grow and become responsible as long as he is being fed well, he will grow healthily. We have the power to become sons of God, it has been given to us. This is what differentiates us from the rest of other believers!
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On the journey to sonship, you must be open to the disciplines of God! The Bible says “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” -Hebrews 12:7 NIV
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Now you see, God disciplines you because he loves you! Discipline here isn’t punishment as so many people put it! God will not condemn you to sickness and poverty nor will He make you a failure in the name of discipline. It takes God’s discipline to be able to go extra miles for the kingdom. This is what separates the childish from the mature. You must be open to trainings from God. When you are training for greatness, you aren’t undergoing punishment, you’re simply passing through a formation of building. You don’t enjoy body exercise sometimes but you do it just to stay fit. I know sometimes I want to just lie down on the sofa, put on the air conditioner, cover myself in blanket, listen to music, play games and eat my favourite junks! But no, I have to discipline myself to work even when I don’t feel like. I do it because it’s good for me. That is how God’s discipline is for you, it’s not punishments but exercises that keeps you stronger and fit! This is the cross Jesus was talking about, the cross you must carry! The cross of losing certain friends, the cross of never being with the one you love all the time, the cross of being different and going through various stress in order to achieve a purpose of the kingdom!
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Paul wrote “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:23‭-‬27 NIV
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You see this? You must come to that point where your body doesn’t matter so much to you anymore, where your priority isn’t yourself but the cause of the kingdom! Your desire should be to come to the end of yourself! To come to the end of all the distractions you are facing! I would love to share this story with you, a story of how my last relationship came to an end. When I was appointed as the president of the YAC ministry in an Anglican Church I attended around 2012, I had a female friend, we had gotten so close that my entire head got filled with her! I couldn’t do without hearing from her every hour, I just liked her so much and that’s actually how it happens to me every time. We would have issues at times, she would threaten to leave and I’d spend the night crying instead of doing something better. I knew that at that time I wouldn’t handle the feelings and the responsibility given to me, I either had to let go of one. I called her one evening, we met along the road and sheltered ourselves in an empty store.
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That day, she looked more amazing in her stripped white and red dress. Her smiles got me so deep but I had something bigger I shouldn’t allow to die. She’s born again and very prayerful, no doubt! She was virtuous too! I got her committed in the YAC ministry too but a different chapter from mine. As close as we got, we never kissed once! We would study the word together sometimes but deep down in me, I knew she wasn’t the one for me, I also knew I needed some space because my emotions at that time wouldn’t handle relationship issues and still allow me to serve effectively. It was hard but I said
“Star, I told you about my new appointment in Church. Right?”
“Yes” she smiled
“I would want to say that I love you. You know that right?” I asked
“Yes” she responded
“Okay… Please, I mean good for us. I cannot handle the distractions that comes with this relationship and ministry all at once. Right now, I have people to pastor and they need my time much more than you do. It hurts me as I say this but I have to choose service to God first because as it is now, I can’t handle both.” We cried, agreed and moved on. Since then and for several years, I couldn’t be in a relationship again. It was difficult, sometimes I would want to go back on my words but I struggled till it I got over it! Now you see, that is a kind of cross I had to carry. That same year, I dropped from the Polytechnic and cancelled a mouth watering job offer for the same purpose! Many people considered me stupid but that was the cross demanded for me to carry at that time. It changed everything!
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Fasting, devotion, soul winning and all that isn’t suffering… It is discipline. Nobody enjoys body exercise but people do it because they need it. Your body may not want it but you have to do it because you need it. There are things very difficult to give up on, but if these things are standing in the way, we ought to give it up! I can’t be in a relationship with someone who will not push me to do more for God, someone who will not be a partner in the kingdom business… No matter how I like that person, I don’t want to loose my job! That’s my job! We may not like it but it’s for our good!
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This where maturity begins to form. Maturity is the ability to do what you need and not what you want. A man without discipline will run aimlessly. We are running the race of purpose, not available race to make heaven as some believe. The issue isn’t going to heaven but being in Christ. When Christ is your purpose and not heaven, you’re unstoppable to do all for him. Many who ran the race of making heaven ended up disappointed but no one who ran the race of Purpose failed.
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There is no goal that cannot be achieved without discipline. There is no success on a platter of gold. Success in ministry requires discipline. It’s not a problem of the spirit but the body. The body is the biggest enemy to your vision. Once you get it under subjection, you cannot fail. You don’t put your body under subject by speaking in tongues but by controlling your self. Self control is the fruit of the spirit. It is not discipline by circumstances but discipline by self. Many people look disciplined because they have no choice, they are obedient because of the gun pointed at them, they serve for the fear of punishment, their discipline is under a condition but discipline by self is a choice, it’s something you choose to do even when it’s not convenient. It’s like waking in the morning to do 50 press-up exercise! No one enjoys it but we do it to stay fit!
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The body does not cool down because you got born again. It is you who cool the body down. It begins by taming your five senses, bringing them into obedience to the ways of Christ. You can’t be disciplined when you’re controlled by your brain. Let your spiritual sense control your brain. Your taste sense will deny you the privileges of fasting, your emotions might get you to the point of fear and insecurities but when you are tuned to God’s word, you live above the sense.
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Discipline is a key to true manifestation of power, a mark of maturity which begins with the mastery of your thoughts. Discipline is self-restraint… Restraining yourself, for yourself and by yourself. God doesn’t take away hunger when you’re fasting, discipline is when you’re hungry but you continue with your fast. It needs courage! You can’t be disciplined when you admit weakness. The more you admit weakness, the more it registers on your consciousness.
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Discipline requires perseverance. It means trying again even when you fail. Many fail and remain there because they had given up on themselves but failing isn’t the problem, the problem is when you aren’t getting up. A wise man falls seven times and rise seven times.
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God loves us and that is why he brings us to that platform of discipline. The greatest discipline is self discipline. Nothing can make you endure the pain of the discipline except the joy set before you. The Bible says “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” – Hebrews 12:11‭-‬13 NIV
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It may never appease your feelings but it will produce results your feelings would never have produced! It is better to walk with Christ alone than walk purposelessly in the company of ignorant fellows. It is better to die pursuing purpose than live your whole life without purpose. Truth is, the one who truly lives is one who fulfills purpose.
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Never forget, your effort isn’t to get yourself saved or keep yourself saved, your effort is to spread Jesus and bring the deliverance available in Him to the souls of men! We are called into the ministry of reconciliation and this is our purpose!
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God bless you!
#GracefulGeorge

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