[b]The Spirit And The Cross[/b]
[i]by Zac Poonen[/i]
There is perhaps no clearer description of the Spirit- filled life than in Paul's statement in Galatians 2:20, I am crucified with Christ. It is no longer I but Christ that lives in me." For what is the purpose of the fullness of the Spirit if not to reproduce the life of Jesus in us? And so the measure in which our self-life is crucified and the Christ-life manifested in us, is the true measure of our being full of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit will always leads us like He led Jesus to the cross. The Spirit and the cross are inseparable. The cross is a symbol of weakness, shame and death. The Apostle Paul had fears, perplexities, sorrows and tears in his life (See 2 Cor. 1:8; 4:8; 6:10; 7:5). He was considered a fool and a fanatic. He was often treated like dirt and garbage by others (1 Cor. 4:13). All this is not incongruous with the Spirit's fullness. On the contrary, the Spirit-filled man will find God leading him farther and farther, down the pathway of humiliation and death to himself.
The Spirit-filled man is one who does not care for the honor of men. He accepts humiliation and reproach gladly. He glories in nothing but the cross (Gal. 6:14). He does not glory in his gifts or abilities or even his deeper life experiences. He glories only in dying to himself perpetually.
The cross is also the symbol of Divine love. God's love for man was manifested in God dying on a cross for men. Such love characterizes the Spirit-filled man as well. Between him and every other person, there is a cross on which he dies to himself in order to love the other. This is the real meaning of love.
Watchman Nee tells the story of two Christian farmers in China who had their fields halfway up a hill and who would get up early in the morning and water their fields. Some other farmers, whose fields were lower down the hill, came one night and dug a hole in the irrigation channels of the upper fields and let all the water flow down to their fields. This happened for seven nights in succession and the two Christians wondered what to do. They finally decided that as believers they would show the other farmers the love of Christ. And so they got up the next morning and watered the fields of those farmers first, and then watered their own. They put a cross between them and the other farmers and died to their own rights on it. After they did this for two or three days, the non- Christian farmers called to apologize and said, If this is Christianity, then we want to hear more about it."
Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit came upon His disciples, they would receive power to be His witnesses. The word "witness" in the original Greek, is martus, (which is translated as "martyr" in Acts 22:20 and in Rev. 2:13 and 17:6). So the literal meaning of Acts 1:8, is that when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, they would receive power to be martyrs - martyrs, not just in the sense of dying once on a stake, but martyrs who would die to themselves daily. And so, a Spirit-filled witness is one who lives a crucified life.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon