Cross Carry — The Final Chapter
Funny how we can do a small thing faithfully over time till we realize we’ve accomplished much — like this book!
We’ve met here once a week for thirteen weeks. We’ve been faithful to do a chapter a week; we’ve done well to do every part and now we can say we’ve completed the whole.
Girls with Swords. If we’ve read it with the heart intended, this was no easy-read.
We’ve been challenged to see ourselves not as victims but targets, to learn the Word of God in such a way that it becomes our weapon to defend and fight back. We’re chosen and trained!
We’ve been taught to see the cross as a weapon…a sword. We recognize now that we are in a battle…but we’re not defenseless. In fact, we are armed!
And there are so many way God’s Word is a sword — it’s harvest, light, song, silence, and forgiveness. Sometimes we’re to wield it; other times we should yield it.
Now we are to be commissioned.
Lisa reminds us in this final chapter of commissioning that while we bear these swords, carry this cross, we (each one of us) also wear invisible crowns, reminders of the authority we’ve been given by Christ Himself — authority over darkness.
We wear the crown, and we carry the cross. Jesus bore our cross so we could wear His crown…. This dynamic of becoming like Christ is realized through discipleship, which we live by daily walking with Him. (Fencing Manual, p.182)
For each one of us, the Cross is personal.
In Mathew 16:24, Jesus instructs us to a) deny ourselves, b) take up the cross, and c) follow Him. And for each of us the cross we take up will be different.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been taught that “taking up the cross” means bearing some horrible burden for the name of Jesus. I don’t doubt that we all have seasons where the cross feels burdensome, hard. But this study has helped me to realize that the cross ultimately represents the work Jesus has done within me, and when I take it up, I’m walking in the fullness of that salvation, ready to extend grace and love to whoever God puts in my path. Lisa puts it this way:
The cross captures all that the work of salvation has placed in our hands. (FM, p.183)
What has the cross personally meant to you?
For me the cross is freedom, and it is HOPE! The work Jesus did for me on the cross has freed me from habits (like negative self-talk) and tendencies (like a bad temper). The cross has filled me with a peace that overcomes all my worries…and I am a natural-born worrier! The cross equips and fills me with a boldness that is not my own, enabling me to step out into deeper waters that fear would otherwise keep me from entering.
Was this salvation a one time experience? Yes. …and no.
Yes — I accepted Jesus as my Savior and He came into my heart, my life, and I’ve been redeemed.
And no — This work of salvation, of sanctifying grace, continues everyday. I learn and grow, fail and succeed, journey and sojourn everyday, every season. It’s a continuous work that I have to be open to everyday.
The power of salvation, this ongoing work in our lives, requires us to surrender to Christ, the Cross, everyday.
I absolutely love that Lisa reminds us of this…”The very moment we admit our need, God is there to meet it.” For Lisa, she had to admit she didn’t know. For me, I have to admit I can’t do it myself.
What about you? In what area can you admit a need right now?
When we can admit we need God, He can do amazing work in and through us.
We carry this precious Message [of the Cross] around in unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. 2 Corinthians 4:7, The Message
We need to know what message the Cross is for us, that personal work Christ has done in us through His Cross, so that we can be His vessels, willing to pour into others.
Jesus modeled this way of life for us as he loved and ministered to all the people in His life. He taught truths, fed the hungry, cast out demons, healed the sick, confronted the religion of the day, and raised the dead (FM, p.186). He both loved people and worked for the good of the oppressed.
He showed us that we don’t have to choose between doing good (what we call social justice today) and living a life of the supernatural, the spiritual. We need to recognize, through our time alone with Him, when He is calling us into action…and we’ll be equipped because of the supernatural work He will do through us. Picture it: we could be BOTH Mary AND Martha! But only in Him, through Him.
Does the work of the Cross mean we’ll be perfect? That we’ll never mess up or make wrong choices? No! We’re human. We’ve been given the gift of free-will. So when those mistakes happen, we have to remember we’re still on that potter’s wheel. God can still shape us into what He wants; He can still use us for His purposes.
That is the work of redemption — that delivering, rescuing, restoring work of the Cross. Remember, the work of the Cross is once AND for always. Take time to read The Message version of Romans 12:1-2. It’s a perfect reminder of what we’re called to be and do.
Jesus’ disciples rarely got things right. They are our examples of how Jesus helps us in our doubt, unbelief, and hard hearts.
And when we pick up our crosses and move into the world, ready to do God’s bidding, we better be certain the enemy will find us. We can’t forget those deadly d’s of doubt, distraction, discouragement, and division. When we recognize them, we pick up our swords, the Word of the Lord “to silence demons and then cast them out in Jesus’ name” (FM, p.189).
Commissioned sisters, we’ve been armed and trained, so it’s time for us to enter into the fray. As we do, let us EXPECT the power of the Cross to be in us, with us.
Whether we’re praying for our families and churches or interceding for someone who is trapped or lost, let us EXPECT Jesus to work His might through us.
So…what results to you hope (expect) to see in your life and family? Your church and community?
Zechariah 9:13 in The Message reminds uss that “people are my (God’s) swords.”
We are flaming swords who proclaim He is the way:
The Cross positioned you to be a hero.
Carry it with hope in your heart,
faith for the impossible,
and love for all humanity. (FM, p.192)
As Jesus told us so many times in His Word — in fact, He prayed it — He is one with the Father so we are one with Him. In this oneness we can turn from our own reflections to deny its limitations and instead reflect Him! (FM, p.193)
Lisa charges us to carry the gospel of the Kingdom in our everyday, ordinary lives, and do so with bold strength. (FM, p.193) She goes on to anoint us with words, saying that we should live like heroes, sure to strike a blow to the enemy and set captives free…. That we should no longer see ourselves as targeted but as CHOSEN…chosen to be a sword lifted in our Savior’s hand. (FM, p.194)
We’re not victims…but targets. But even that mindset is limiting. We are CHOSEN. Sisters of the Sword, let’s band together under the unifying banner of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and become the princess warriors we were created to be.
When we’re tired, weary, fearful, confused, or broken, we turn to the Cross and remember the work Christ did there. Then lay it all at the foot of the Cross and be renewed.
We can take up our swords in the full power of Jesus and re-enter the battle.
Fighting by your side,