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The Stages of God, Part IV

My forehead feels tense and a bit hot. It’s almost always in the context of a relationship. Something is either unfair or is chipping away at my selfish desires. I squirm, complain oh-so-quietly. I am the martyr without cause.

I must be honest. It’s the crucifixion of my soul and whether I am actually being mini-martyred or crucifying my flesh, it never feels fun. It can happen on any day of the week at any time of the day in the most comfortable or uncomfortable situation or in an expected or unexpected circumstance.

I end up where St. Paul seems to end up daily: on the path of the one who walked the Via Dolorosa one step at a time.

I am not alone. Every true disciple crucifies their flesh and a Christ-follower finds himself at this choosing-stage; where we figuratively die for another or conveniently pick the every-man-for-himself option.

While we do not know much about the life of Christ before his thirtieth birthday, we do know that he submitted to his parents. Picture that…God submitting to imperfect parenting - and not whining about it the rest of his life!


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__________________________________________________________________But during his ministry, we see the cross at every step…stopping for this one or that, raising a young man in the middle of his own funeral because Jesus’ heart broke for the mom, talking to a Roman centurion, putting up with religious leaders, walking endlessly, having a stone for a pillow, going without sleep, patiently instructing disciples with questionable motives and finally steadfastly setting his face to Jerusalem for it was the logical end for his cross-led life.

I’m sure his forehead felt hot under the thorns.

PORTAL TO HEAVEN: The Son of Man was just that: a walking-talking demonstration for each man that the ever-increasing stage of the cross in our life is where every disciple must land. Yet, joy comes in the morning.

'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.'

Luke 9:23 (ESV), Psalm 30:5 (NIV)

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