Here’s a c/p to an article that I found really penetrative. It’s the kind of food that seems harder to find these days – in fact I can’t remember the last time I heard anything about the ‘flesh’, even though that is one of the main enemies of a Christian.
It’s not good enough to come to the cross, one must come to the cross and die. The ultimate offense of the cross is death. Jesus said that whoever seeks to save his life would lose it, but whoever loses his life for His sake would gain everlasting life. In Roman times, the one thing you knew if you saw a man with a cross was that the man was surely going to die and the dying would not be easy.
The message of the cross remains the same ” I bid you to come and die.” You cannot accept the benefits of the cross while refusing to suffer and endure the agonies of it. In order to live eternally one has to die. It is a very rare thing to hear this message today. The message for the last few decades typically begins with “All you have to do.” This is not the gospel. This is some abomination. See Jesus in the garden and see the agony. For us mere mortals the flesh will not go quietly into that good night, it will rage against the coming of the light.
It will demand to remain in the darkness and there it will make its stand. Salvation is a brutal bloody thing and the flesh must be found dead upon the brazen altar. It is the work of the cross that slays it and today Satan is still selling that old lie “surely you will not die. Bow down and worship me and you will not need to die upon a cross.” Will you die that you may live or will you live this day and bow down to the world? It must be one or the other. Cheap grace has given the illusion that there is a middle ground, there is not. The middle ground is a chasm that swallows men whole. To be found there is to be engulfed in darkness and mediocracy.
In the Kingdom of God there is no ordinary, there is only extraordinary. It is your calling to rise above the clamorings of men and do exploits for God. To simply shine your light among the darkness of this world is extraordinary. To praise God from a sickbed is extraordinary. To have a thankful heart quite apart from your circumstances is to live an extraordinary life. Being joyful, being at peace, being content, conquering fears, enduring and overcoming. These are the extraordinary and the supernatural elements of our life.
All of these things, while carrying your cross, makes the foundations of hell shake. Forgiving your brother and loving your enemies makes the foundations of hell shake. The gates of hell themselves suffer defeat by an army of fragrant saints who march upon their knees with their hands raised high to heaven and their voices raised in praise. This is why the devil and the flesh rage against the coming of the light.