|Luke 14:27,33 |
27 And whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.4 [The blind guides of Christendom ignore the cross and tell their followers that they are already saved just by believing in Jesus; but unless you carry the inward cross of self denial to crucify your selfish lusts, passions, and desires, you will be banned from heaven at death. To come after Christ you must wait in humble silence, listening for Him to speak to you from the Word within your heart; faith is to hear Him, and then you must obey Him. Self-denial occurs by obeying the Lord's spoken commands instead of your will, (His will, not your will); this is bearing the cross — the inward cross of self-denial.]
33 So likewise, whoever does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.6 [Everyone who has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit everlasting life. Mat 19:29. When you continually deny yourself and obey the Lord's commands, you will forsake your entire selfish life, and thereby save your soul to live Life in union with God.]
6 So likewise, whoever does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple. To forsake all that you have, does not mean give everything away and live like a pauper in a cave. It means: when you go to the Lord to be taught and changed by his grace to become pure, you must be ready to give up anything the Lord asks. But don't worry, he will never cause you to be unable to care for yourself or your family. He will only ask you to give up those unnecessary things that you idolize, those pleasures to which you are enslaved, those pastimes that lead you into immorality, etc. You must go to him with total trust and understanding that he wants only the best for you; and since he has created you and all things in heaven and earth, he knows what is best for you, even better than yourself. So, you eagerly go to him, knowing that whatever he asks you to forsake, it is done for your benefit.
In his early seeking George Fox had the Lord tell him: "You see how young people associate in vanity, and old people into the earth; but you must forsake all, young and old, keep out of all, and be as a stranger to all." Today this command is still true, and it applies to us also. Watch the young; they are obsessed with beauty, looks, and appearance, which is nothing but vanity. The older people look to the pride of possessing the things of the earth for their happiness. No only must we forsake vanity and pride of possessions, we must also forsake the company of the people of the world because as Paul said: "Do not be deceived. Evil companions corrupt good manners, morals, and integrity. 1 Cor 15:33." Evil companions are those who are still sinning, still wrapped up in their vanity, still seeking the things of this world for their happiness. Of necessity you maintain polite contact with the people of the world in your occupation and in your everyday business, but you don't socialize with them.
Naked you came into the world, as God created you. To receive his changing grace, only naked, (of all your pride, of your love of life, of your lusts, of your self-righteousness), can you leave the world to enter the Kingdom; you must stand before the Lord with nothing to hide your unrighteousness. As you stand, you are judged sympathetically and freed from sin; your consciousness then leaves this world, to enter the dimension of the Kingdom of Heaven.