Spiritual Growth

How Do We Embrace the Cross of Christ?

Knowing what the world is like today, I feel certain that you or some of those you love are facing problems that are impossible to resolve or even to face in the strength of human resources.

Some time ago a pastor friend shared his belief that many pastors today are experiencing severe pressure in their ministries.

He spoke of problems in the pastors’ own lives and families and of conflicts within the life of the church.

He further stated that this has not always been the case. Loyalty to the local church seems to be at an all-time low, which is to be expected as a logical result of the breakdown of family structures.

This, along with the usual problems faced by pastors, puts them in a rather unenviable position.

I understand what my pastor friend was talking about, because part of my past experience in dealing with just such pressure, I believe, has helped me find some answers…

Depression and anxiety reached their peak in October 1965, when I was thirty-five. At times I wept all the way home from work. I felt boxed in, with no escape.

I would hold to this or that promise from God, hoping that I might find an answer to my plight.

On the night of October 25, I knew that I could not go on one more day. I was on medication for pain in the back of my head, and had I not been a Christian, suicide would have been the only option. It was at that point that the Spirit of God intervened in my life.

Late that night I was reading Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ.” I had given up hope of finding help from God or anyone else.

But God graciously and sovereignly moved in my life that night and released me from all the anxiety, depression, pain in the back of my head, and inferiority feelings of a lifetime. This feeling of total freedom lasted a day or two.

Then some of the old feelings settled back in, and I had to learn a process the Bible calls “walking in the Spirit.”

Beyond the first step of being “filled with the Spirit,” I had to learn to continue the process of allowing the Holy Spirit to have control of my life.

Since I had no one to disciple me in this new way of life, the next couple of years I was up and down spiritually…

Those who have embraced the Cross and its teachings don’t think of themselves as having “arrived,” except at the bottom.

The Cross in the life of the believer involves brokenness and suffering, just as it did for our Lord…None of us is greater than his Master, and all must go the way of the Cross if we are to have victory in our Christian experience.

Until believers understand this, they will continue to resist the message that life must come out of death and victory out of defeat, whether in counseling or in any other kind of ministry.

What I learned during those days in 1965 was that the experience of the Cross is an ongoing process.

God allowed many things to come into my life, during those days and since, to contribute to my spiritual growth.

I learned that we are all in the process of becoming in experience who we already are in Christ by position.

Until we are one day with him, we will have to continue dealing with sin, in the world and in ourselves.

From Handbook to Happiness by Charles R. Solomon

Handbook to Happiness counsels hurting people by teaching them to exchange their life for Christ’s. Instead of “trying to live the Christian life,” which still centers on our own efforts, we need to allow Christ to live his life in us. This removes all reliance on human effort and frees us to become totally Christ centered. This revision includes personal testimonials, diagrams, and a poem by the author, illustrating his own spiritual and emotional journey.

Learn more HERE.

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