December 19 - Identification with the Cross
Commitment to Jesus requires identification with His cross and going out to the place where He was crucified. This commitment rules out two things: pleasing self and pleasing the world.
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. (Philippians 3:17–19 NASB)
Paul was speaking of people who merely profess to be Christians, enemies of the cross who claim to be followers of Christ. They indulge themselves and set their minds on the things of this world. The principle of the cross—death to self and to the things of the flesh—has not been applied in their lives. Even in the church, many people profess allegiance to Christ but reject His cross. Their end is destruction.
By our identification with the cross of Jesus, we also rule out pleasing this world. James wrote these stern words to professing believers: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4 NIV). James called these people “adulterous.” Becoming part of the bride of Christ, the church, requires a spiritual commitment—the bride must be single-hearted, totally committed and devoted to Jesus. If that devotion to Jesus is infiltrated by the love of this world, then we are spiritual adulterers. We are not being faithful to the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. To be a friend of the world is to commit spiritual adultery.