“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).
“He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:38).
“Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27).
“If any man serve Me, let him follow Me” (John 12:26).
How little some of us know of this, and yet if our hearts are truly attached to Christ, surely, we should not draw back or shrink from the path He sets before us. It means gain, undoubtedly, in that which is abiding and eternal even if it means loss here. It means nearness to Him who has led the way, the conscious support of His hand in the difficulties that we are sure to meet with; and though we naturally shrink from trouble and fear the future, yet if we have proved in any measure what it is to have His company in the trial, we would not have been without it.
To him who realizes what the death of the Lord Jesus Christ means, not only for his sins, but to deliver from this present evil world, this world becomes the “valley of the shadow of death”: the deep, dark shadow of His death lying upon all that the world is and can offer to attract our hearts; yet he can joyfully exclaim, “I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”
The cross-means death—I do not mean the death of the body but to all that in which our will works in it—and we cannot go in for it in our own strength; on the contrary, it implies that we have none. All we can do is to put our hand in His in simple childlike trust, looking to Him where He is in resurrection glory. The more we know Him, surely the more we can trust His love as to our circumstances, as to everything. We sometimes fear the consequences of following Him wholly, but we should trust His loving heart to do the very best for us and have confidence that He will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able to bear.
Oh, let us not give Him a second place; let Him be first and all. We are His, left here to be for Him. May we not dishonor Him and grieve His heart by our coldness and half-heartedness and worldliness, but may we seek to walk worthy of Him to whom we belong, who loves us so perfectly and would draw us with those bands of love.
Oh, that we might hear afresh His voice of love: “Follow thou Me.”
May the Lord use this issue of Toward the Mark to help you grow and be established as you read it. Thank you for your e-mails and notes of encouragement.
Please keep praying for the Lord’s blessing on Toward the Mark.
Yours in our soon-coming Lord,
Emil S. Nashed
Please send your questions and comments to:
Toward The Mark
c/o Wayne Christian Assembly
60 Smith Lane
Wayne, NJ 07470-5354
Attention: Emil S. Nashed