“The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer.” (Ps. 6:9)
The greatest compliment that a Christian can give God is out of a still and quiet spirit to yield the direction and care of our lives in faith into His hands. When we do this, we are acknowledging that God is capable, trustworthy, and has our best interests at heart. We are acknowledging that instead of being rebels in charge of the affairs of our lives, that Jesus Christ should take His rightful place as our Lord and King. The “I did it my way” approach to life does not mix with the second half of the cross approach of making Jesus Christ the Lord and Master of our lives. The first step in beginning the second half of the cross in our lives, therefore, is recognizing this fundamental difference.
In this world it is difficult to bring people to salvation. As in the first century, when Jesus walked the earth, not that many people today want God in their lives. And those people who do accept Jesus Christ, often only want Him in their lives on their terms. The second half of the cross as outlined in this book is not advanced Christianity. The second half of the cross is not radical Christianity. Surrendering and yielding our self-wills to God so that He has the space to begin to work in our lives for our benefit, is basic Christianity. No lasting transformation and deliverance can take place without it.
Forgiveness and cleansing of sin, and the removal of self-reliance from the thrones of our hearts, are two sides of the same gold coin-of-the-realm in the kingdom of God. The Christian always maintains freedom of choice, but defers to the higher and better judgment of God as to how to best go about living this current life. When the Christian elevates the participation of Jesus Christ into our lives above our own self-reliance and self-direction, we allow the supernatural part of the relationship to begin to improve how we think about our moral choices, the quality of the effort that we put into life, the standards that we expect of ourselves, and our desire to please and glorify God in all things.
This transformation also creates within us an unselfish attitude toward other people. We will not only discover the mind of Christ in us, but also the heart of Christ in us. We will discover within us a desire to share with others this same salvation that liberated us from sin, and that transformed us into new people as well. And most importantly, because of the knowledge of the second half of the cross, and the death of self-powered and self-initiated efforts, we will discover that the words of life that we speak, and the examples of God’s love through works of kindness to others, come through the power of the Holy Spirit within us and not our own self-propelled energy. When we ourselves are genuinely transformed into new creatures in Christ, the motivation to share the gospel will come from unselfish love from the heart, rather than through some program fueled by compulsion or a sense of duty.
The second half of the cross therefore not only includes the plan of God to get us engaged in a direction according to the will of God for our lives, but also provides the Holy Spirit power within us to transform us into the quality of people who can effectively reach out to others and share what God has and is doing in our lives. The key is to first get self-will and self-in-charge out of the way, according to the second half of the cross, so that God can begin to interject His love, power, and grace into our lives. This process begins the moment we become new Spirit-born Christians.
But the advanced Christianity part of a journey of faith does eventually require a complete change in our thinking. A God-composed and guided journey of faith adds purpose, direction, and structure to our lives that displaces the otherwise conventionally normal mode of simply reacting to random chance events as they arise. A God-composed journey of faith inserted into our lives displaces “living by our wits” in an improvisational, at-the-last-minute, reactive mode , with a new game-plan crafted out of the mind of God that has the proactive, preventive elements of a transformed character and elevated morality in operation.
God’s unshakable promise is that if we will seek Him with all of our heart, we will find Him. This is where picking up our cross seamlessly blends with seeking God with all of our heart, which produces a bond with Holy Spirit power that cannot be broken by any force in existence. This is the advanced part of a journey of faith involving the free-will decision-making of people to surrender our all to God, which extends all the way back to the beginning of the Bible.