Thank you for joining us for our 7 days a week, 7 minutes of wisdom podcast. This is Day 291 of our trek. Yesterday we hiked on the 11th trail of this trek, which was the Trail of Self-Denial. Today we will focus on one of the most important trails which is the Trail of The Cross.
There is a total of 18 trails on the trek we call the Principles of Spiritual Growth, which is adapted from a short book written by Miles J. Stanford. These practical lessons were instrumental in my spiritual growth as a young man seeking to create and live my legacy. As we continue on each trail of our overall trek, I trust that you will also find this information valuable in your own life, regardless of where you happen to be on your faith trek. Each of the trails that we hike builds on the previous one, so if you miss any of our Wisdom-Trek, please go to Wisdom-Trek.com to listen to them and read the daily journal.
We are recording our podcast from our studio at Home2 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Paula had a long, but pleasant trip to Fort Myers on Tuesday to visit Aunt Pauline. Her aunt is very weak but is still living by herself. She has always been a very strong-willed person, but we are not sure how many more days on earth that God may grant to her. We are glad that our work situation and lifestyle allows for Paula to go and visit her on short notice. I was left to hold down the fort and have more work to do than hours in the day, so it was prudent that I remained in Charlotte although I would have liked to go. Paula is due back Friday night, and then we head to Marietta Ohio early on Saturday. We delayed returning to The Big House by a day so Paula could spend another day with Aunt Pauline.
As we move up the trail on our hike today, we are on the Trail of The Cross. The cross is where we gain our identity in Christ and the path to bring our image in line with God’s image. Until we learn how our lives as believers are completely integrated with Christ through the cross, we will have difficulty growing to maturity spiritually. This is the 12th of 18 trails, which makes up the trek we call…
Understanding and appropriating the facts of the cross proves to be one of the most difficult and trying of all phases for the growing believer. Our Lord holds His most vital and best things in store for those who desire to grow into a mature faith, for those who hunger and thirst for His very best as it is provided through our Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:6 tells us, “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” The believer’s understanding of the two aspects of the cross gives the key to both spiritual growth and life-giving service.
The cross is the starting point from which all Godly living must grow. We shall never know the experience of Christ’s victory in our lives until we are prepared to put our faith in His victory at the cross as the solution for our personal victory today.
There is no victory for us which was not first His. What we are to experience He purchased, and what He purchased for us we ought to experience. The beginning of the life of holiness is faith in the crucified Christ which sees more than His substitutionary work. It is a faith which sees yourself identified with Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.
As our Substitute, He went to the cross alone, without us, to pay the penalty of our sins. As our Representative, He took us with Him to the cross, and there, in the sight of God, we all died together with Christ. We may be forgiven because He died in our stead. We may be delivered because we died with Him. Through the crucifixion of the old man with Christ the believer has been made dead unto sin. He has been completely freed from sin’s power. He has been taken beyond sin’s grip, and the claim of sin upon him has been nullified. In our lives, the shackles of sin have been completely destroyed.
We are not left to deal with the old life ourselves. It has been dealt with by Christ on the cross. This is the fact which must be known since on that fact is built the New Testament principle and doctrine of holiness. In other words, the cross is as much the foundation for our spiritual growth as it was for us being made righteous in God’s sight. Both gifts spring from the same work and are two aspects of the same salvation.
Now, as long as the believer does not know this dual aspect of his salvation, the best he can do is seek to handle his sins through confession, which is after the damage has been done! 1 John 1:9 is clear that we are made clean, even when we do sin, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” This takes care of the penalty of our sins but not the source. Is it not time we allowed the Holy Spirit to get at the source and cut off this stream of sins before they are committed? Is this not infinitely better than the wreckage caused by sin even though confessed? When believers get sick and tired of spinning year after year in a spiritual squirrel cage—sinning, confessing, but then sinning again—they will be ready for God’s answer to the source of sin, which is death to self, brought forth from the completed work of the cross.
Our understanding of the finished work of our death to sin, in Christ at the cross, is God’s one way of deliverance—there is no other way because that is the way He did it. We learned not to add to a finished work in the matter of our salvation, and now we must learn not to add to the finished work of freedom from the shackles of sin. We will be freed when we enter His prepared freedom—there is no other. Romans 6:14 is clear, “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.”
God has taken the shackles of sin off, let us not put them back on. We need to accept the power of the cross by faith to live as Paul encouraged the church of the Galatians 5:13, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”
On our trek Principles for Spiritual Growth, today we have discovered that we have been set free on the Trail of The Cross. We must understand that the same power that saved us is the power we have available to live right before God as we grow spiritually to be in His image. Tomorrow we will begin a new hike on the Trail of Discipleship that will lead us along our trek of spiritual growth. Every trail that we hike will help us to create and live our legacy each day. So, encourage your friends and family to join us, and then come along tomorrow for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
That will finish our podcast for today. As you enjoy your daily dose of wisdom, we ask you to help us grow Wisdom-Trek by sharing with your family and friends through email, Facebook, Twitter, or in person, so they can come along with us each day.
Thank you for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most of all your friend as I serve you through the Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal each day.
As we take this trek together, let us always:
This is Guthrie Chamberlain reminding you to Keep Moving Forward, Enjoy Your Journey, and Create a Great Day Every Day! See you tomorrow!