February 1, 2021

Overcoming by Way of the Cross

He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.Revelation 3:21


An old hymn says, “The way of the cross leads home.” Now, think about those words in context with today’s verse. Jesus returned home to His Father after overcoming sin and death on the Cross. And He invites anyone “who overcomes” to join Him. We overcome sin and death the same way Jesus did—by way of the Cross. That also means we have the power to daily overcome the trappings of sin and its effects in the world. But we must choose the way of the Cross each day.


Remember, Jesus wrote these words to a lukewarm church, mired in the misery of mediocrity. The way of the Cross is the ultimate cure for a lukewarm heart because it requires denial of self. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Self cannot be in charge when we take the way of the Cross. As a matter of fact, self will do all within its power to keep us from it.


That’s why the apostle Paul described taking up the Cross as dying to self. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). If we are truly following Christ, then we too must choose to die to self-interest each day.


This way of life has never been more counter-cultural than now. It makes no sense to a world driven by self-preservation and self-promotion. The Cross of Christ calls for submission, service, and sacrifice—characteristics often admired but rarely understood in the context of God’s holiness and righteousness. Think about it, Satan offered Jesus the world if He would only deny the Cross. Denying self isn’t about giving up anything of value. It’s how we overcome the weight of the world and the misery of mediocrity.


So, how do we make the way of the Cross a practical way of life? Through discipline and dependence. Spiritual discipline enables us to see through worldly distractions with their deceitful promises of pleasure, popularity, and prosperity. Such discipline is only possible through dependence upon the grace and sufficiency of Jesus. And as we overcome daily in His strength, the way of the Cross will ultimately lead us home!