Sunday, March 25, 2018

Take Up Your Own Cross

By Odon Bulamba

Blessed are those that understand the purpose of God in their lives because they will more likely hit the target and purpose.  Our purpose on earth isn’t just to enjoy but for a mission.  Once in a mission, always remember that at some stage we will go back to report to the boss.  All missions have an end and everything on this earth has an end except one thing, our soul.

God created human beings with the body, spirit and the soul.  Those three things work together but for God, the body is somehow less important, just a tool to help to carry and support the spirit and soul of a human being.  The role of the body is to work for the soul and spirit and once that mission is completed, that body will remain on earth and return to the soil while the soul and spirit will go back to God and give feedback of all that you have done while you were on earth.

Proverbs 11:1, God doesn’t like a balance that isn’t honest.  With a balance we can see a weight on one side and a weight on the other side and for it to be balanced, the weights must be equal.  E.g. 10kg paper equals 10kg stones and will require more paper required to balance the stones.

When God created you and me, He gave us a body and inside of us is the spiritual part and now He looks at us to see how we use our balance.  The balance of my body is often unfair.  I wake up early to shower, shave to look nice, I eat when I’m hungry and drink water when I’m thirsty.  I use my money to buy coffee when needed.  I respond to all the needs of my body without hesitation.  Sometimes when my body tells me that I’m tired, I find the right place to rest.

On the other side, the spiritual life and my soul is making an alarm, do I respond? Do I use that balance? Sometimes I tell my soul to wait, I’m not ready yet to answer or respond to your needs.  Sometimes I tell my soul, I am busy but when your stomach tells you that you are hungry, you stop what you are doing to find food and if you don’t feed yourself, you will starve and you lose your strength and then after a few days people will see you have lost weight and you may die for not feeding your body.  If people see you around town without clothes, they will be shocked and maybe even call the police.  When your soul is naked, what do you do?

Our cross is to take care of our souls.  It is not an easy job but a hard and tough job.  We can easily take care of our body and when we need money, to ask others for money.  When my soul needs something that I don’t understand, it becomes more challenging.  For me to respond to my physical needs, I have to first of all identify them.  I need a new pair of shoes, ok, my project is to buy a pair of shoes.  What needs to I know about my soul?

That is why Jesus said we should understand the secret of the cross. In heaven it was said that someone has to go to earth to redeem people.  It was not specified about the cross.  Maybe, Jesus was thinking about the lamb being slaughtered but if I had known about the cross, maybe I wouldn’t accept because of the suffering.  To take care of your soul, it is not an easy task.  God chose your soul rather than your body.  Your will live for eternity but your body will die so which one is more important?  The one that lives forever.

Our body grows old day after day but your soul never gets old.  God has taken this treasure the soul and said, “here is your cross, carry it and look after it”.  It is not only a matter of reading your Bible and memorising scripture but your soul has requirements.

There is a parallel between your soul carrying the cross and Jesus carrying the cross.

Imagine if we remove the word cross from your Bible? The Bible will not have any meaning because all that we talk about is about the cross.  Through the cross we have this and that.  God has put great importance in the cross because He wants to teach us today how to consider it.  Many people were there at the cross of Jesus and many had no clue or understanding what was happening and that the cross was something important for salvation.  All they could see was torture.

Jesus was taken in front of the authorities.  Jesus tried to defend himself, keep silent and regardless of Him being right and righteous, they said, “you have to carry your cross”.  When you are saved, regardless of your innocence you will find challenges and people will fight against you.  You don’t belong to the world.  There will be a fight.  Warnings were given for our souls.  Prepare yourself for a battle, spiritual and physical.  Satan roars like a lion and he wants to attack you because you want to take care of your soul.  Those who loved you yesterday will attack you.

The cross was given to Jesus, not to play with it or admire it but he was told to carry it and He was forced to carry it.  Wherever you go, your soul is with you, when you are asleep, when you wake up, when you go to the toilet, your soul is attached to you.  To carry things we have to think first of all how to carry it.  How will you carry a cross?  Maybe on your back?  Some might use their heads.  Others use their hands.  The essential is to use your hands.  Without hands it is almost impossible to carry something.

Why do we give our lives to God’s hands and not his thigh or chest?  What is the importance of hands in your life?  We don’t put our souls in a drawer where they can be secure but in God’s hands because it is safe there and He can use his hands to mould us like a potter and make us how He likes.

How do we carry our cross (soul)?  Our hands have five fingers on each hand.  The number 10 is in the Bible and by looking, we can learn a lot.  E.g. 10 commandments teach us to look after our souls.  This is a pillar of knowing how to balance your physical life and spiritual life.  First commandment, no other God before me.  This is a signal that God has been telling us.  There are many Gods in this world and they exist.  In Africa for example, around July men will go in the bush to meet with the god of that tribe and it is all in secret.  The spirit can move quickly from one place to another and transport many people at once.  That spirit can teach you rituals and circumcised you and afterwards you come back to the city declared a man.

If that god is going around and meets with a woman, she will die.  There is one tribe that believe that this is the true god but it is witchcraft.  You must only have one God.  Once you know Jesus that should be your first commandment.  To create you in God’s image means that we must imitate Him in our actions.  If you want to honour God, try to imitate Him.  This is the first step to look after your soul.

Jesus took up His cross and started His journey.  The more He was walking, He started to feel tired.  Something that maybe weighed 20kg, after 5km will be too heavy and you can’t do it.  Remember when you were saved, the first few weeks, you felt strong and you loved so much God and you wanted to contribute and participate but today we are too tired to read the Bible, go to church.  At some point Jesus couldn’t carry the cross and Simon had to help him.

The cross is heavy, your soul is heavy.  How to carry it?  When you wake up every morning, tell God the first commandment, let me today consider you only as my God, help me today to know that I don’t have any other God apart from you.  Let me treat others as you treat others.  If someone does wrong, I will forgive them.  I will accept what others do and let it go.

The second commandment is to have no idols.  What do you adore?  Maybe food.  When you talk about food, Levi will jump and will do the thumbs up and he can tell you about pizza and chips.  Once you give Levi food, he can eat it but after sometime, he will stop eating when he is full.  We can have a desire something but have a limit so not to adore or kill ourselves for it.

Maybe you adore your house, your job, your children, your country and your soul is there saying, you shouldn’t adore something greater than God.  How much do you love yourself?  I have to look after my body which is good but do I also look after God who lives in me and if yes, how?  God gives to us and in return we must also give back.  We use our balance wrongly.  We want God to give and give but we don’t give back, “God you have everything so I won’t give”.  God gave you everything in balance.  If you believe in God, He believes in you.  You trust in God, He trusts you.  He gave you a soul because he trusts you to look after it.

The third commandment is to not blaspheme.  What is blasphemy?  Taking God’s name in vain.  You wake up in the morning, “oh my God.  Jesus!” People use it like a swear word and use it wrongly and some will say, “in the name of Jesus, I am telling you that it is the truth”.  Tell your soul and yourself, “no I shouldn’t do that”.

Jesus picked up the cross and began the journey.  He put it on his shoulder and used His arms and neck to hold it and His legs had to be strong to carry it.  To have strong legs you need to train them.  Your legs should walk on the right path.  To follow Jesus He says, “carry your cross and follow me”.  Where?  You must first understand the destination before following.  He picked up His disciples, “Mark, follow me?”  Where were they going?  None of them asked, “where are you taking me?”

For us today, Jesus has taught us that when we follow Him, He is the path of heaven, the Kingdom of God.  That is the journey and you have to carry your own cross.  “I have done the work and paid for you but it is up to you to look after your own soul and carry your cross”.  Use what you have to carry it, your legs, and arms.  The more you walk, the more it will become heavy.  Many sinners today know very well the Word of God but at some point we start to defend our sins with the Word of God instead of saying sorry and trying to fix it.  Sometimes we say, “God will do the job, when God will be ready, He will come for me”.  That is crazy when He has said to follow me.  You are waiting for Him to come back.  It doesn’t work like that.

If you know the value of your soul and you realise that God believes that the soul is the most important thing in your life, you should look after it while you are trembling.  Jesus said He is preparing a place for your soul, not your body.  The body will die and those who are alive when Jesus comes back, the body will be transformed to a heavenly body.  You have to work for your soul.

Remember every morning to remind yourself that there is only one God that you should adore and you don’t need to adore anything besides God and avoid any type of blasphemy and hurt the feelings of God.  Don’t be blind and say, God will understand.  God becomes angry when we go against His will and He is unhappy.  For that reason, He has punished the world and killed because we don’t respect Him. 

Jesus, when He left His house that day, He knew that he would be sacrificed and He would have to carry a cross. You had no idea that Jesus would meet with you and give you a cross to carry.  Here is salvation, “I accept you Jesus to be my saviour and I give you my life”.  The soul will be the only item to face God on the day of judgments.  Your soul will take all your actions in the same way that Jesus took all our sins.  Your soul will stand in front of God on judgement day.

If you are not preparing your soul, then you will try to fish in the sand instead of the water.  If you are only preparing your body and your intellect to meet Jesus, you will be wrong because He only cares about your soul.

10 commandments are very helpful.  We will finish this next time.