I've been meditating on the cross of Jesus during this 40 days leading up to Easter.
The cross of Jesus is not just an event through which we gain salvation; it is an INVITATION to walk in the way of Christ. The question that jumped in my heart today is this:
Why are we not inviting our children into this life of the cross?
As parents, we grab hold of John 10:10 “…I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” What does this look like as we parent? We tell our kids that they can do anything they want to do. We allow them to sacrifice time with the Lord, the family, church, etc. to go after whatever is in their hearts to do~ sports, dance, music, education, etc. After all, Jesus wants you to have abundant life.
We don’t understand (or even get bitter or offended at the Lord) when our child doesn't make a team or get into the college he/she wanted or when a great job isn't given to him/her. After all, isn't that what following Jesus brings? We embrace that truth of John 10:10, without looking at the cost that was paid to receive that life. And life is only full when we come to the cross.
Jesus says, “If anyone would come after Me, he must DENY himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”Matthew 16:24-26
To deny oneself means to forget oneself; lose sight of oneself & one’s own interests; cease to make self the object of one’s life and actions.
This is completely contrary to most parents I see today (including Greg and I). We have lives that are centered around our children, so how can we expect our kids to be followers of Jesus? They see us living our lives around them, so they begin to think that they are the center of it all. Entertainment is their currency. If it isn't “fun”, they don’t want to do it. If there isn't something in it for them, they do not want a part of it. Our children have not been called to sacrifice anything! They don’t know what it means to deny themselves. And parents, we are afraid to ask them to live a life of sacrifice/denying the flesh/giving up those “rights” to which we and they feel are theirs.
Unfortunately, our kids do not have the fullest expression of TRUE LIFE, so when church isn't entertaining anymore or when their time with Jesus doesn't bring them satisfaction or it gets “boring”, it is put off.
I want to call parents to embrace the Way of the Cross, and my hope is that you would call your children to a higher place of living—the Way of the Cross.
Mike Bickle (leader of the International House of Prayer, KC), at the age of 20, began having prayer meetings on Friday and Saturday nights—for the sole reason of crucifying his flesh; denying himself. When other college students were out partying or just enjoying some form of entertainment, Mike and a group of followers of Jesus, gathered to pray and lift up the Name of Jesus on their campus. Jesus calls us to a radical life of love! Let’s embrace the Way of the Cross!
Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me,” Galations 2:20.
Lord, raise up Pauls in this generation who will say “YES” to the way of the Cross—to be crucified with Christ.
When we embrace the way of the Cross, it is His RESURRECTION in us! Jesus invites us to share in His resurrection power on a day-to-day basis as we die to ourselves and follow Him. In reality, Jesus is inviting us to LIVE through death!